2017 Clitheroe Food Festival is not long away. We have two chocolate talks with tastings, so why not book your place now.
Clitheroe Food Festival is an annual showcase (2nd Saturday of August)of the hard work and dedication from local food and drink producers, and their fabulous produce.
The Festival takes over the town centre with the best food and drink you’ve ever sampled with tastes, smells and sounds to entice all the senses! Local food producers are handpicked from across the county to set up market stalls in every available conceivable public space, to offer samples and sell their wares with demonstrations and food related activities and entertainment in the most unlikely venues.
Is chocolate good for you?
For centuries, cocoa-rich chocolate has been known not only for its good taste but also for its proposed health effects. The Incas believed it the drink of gods, an association that gave rise to the scientific name of the cocoa tree, Theobroma cacao, from the Greek words theo (god) and broma (drink). The first hints of cocoa consumption date back to 1600 BC. In Honduras, archeologists uncovered elaborately designed bowls of this period that are believed to have been used by the Aztecs to drink liquid cocoa thousands of years ago.
In the 16th century, Aztec Emperor Montezuma was a keen admirer of cocoa, calling it a “divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food” (Hernán Cortés, 1519). In the language of the Aztecs, this drink was called chocolatl. With the discovery of the New World, cocoa came to Europe in the 16th century. Since then, the modern chocolate industry has developed, and cocoa seeds are now processed in different ways.
Several supposed health effects of cocoa have been considered, including improved heart function and relief of angina pectoris, stimulation of the nervous system, facilitated digestion, and improved kidney and bowel function. In addition, cocoa has been used to treat anaemia, mental fatigue, tuberculosis, fever, gout, kidney stones, and even poor sexual appetite. In the 19th century, chocolate became a luxury item; hence, its consumption was a sin rather than a remedy. Nowadays, chocolate is associated with calories, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Therefore, many physicians currently tend to warn patients about the potential health hazards of consuming large amount of chocolate-based nutrients. However, the recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has changed this perception and stimulated research on its effects in ageing, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis.
Did you know that chocolate is a useful tool for improving performance in lesser-known ways? With benefits ranging from improved healthy blood flow and cognition to beneficial alterations in gut bacteria and weight lose!
Here are some of the most important benefits of chocolate:
- Mood Improver?
One of the best effects of chocolate consumption is its way it can improve your mood. Your mood matters even more when you’re stressed.
- Chocolate makes you eat less?
Chocolate consumption may help reduce appetite. One study quantified this by giving participants a 100 g serving of chocolate two hours before being served an all-you-can-eat lunch. Ingestion of dark chocolate was correlated with a 17% lower calorie intake at the all you can eat buffet meal.
- Maintenance of a Healthy Cardiovascular System
Regular chocolate consumption is also associated with improved markers for cardiovascular health. The polyphenols in cacao increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), which in turns leads to decreased oxidized LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).
Importantly, vascular function modulates insulin-regulated glucose uptake. It should come as no surprise that dark chocolate consumption also improves healthy levels of insulin sensitivity.
- Chocolate makes your skin glow…and may reduce sunburn?
Another cool thing chocolate does is help you maintain healthy skin by modulating healthy blood flow. Subjects who consumed high percentage dark chocolate for 12 weeks, had on average 25% reduction in UV-induced erythema (sunburn).
- Healthy Inflammation Levels from Powerful Antioxidants (for mice!)
Chocolate has inflammation-modulating properties. In one study, obese mice supplemented with cocoa powder had healthier levels of inflammation and insulin. These mice also had a 30% reduction in plasma levels.
- Chocolate is a prebiotic!
While many studies assume that it is the cacao polyphenols acting directly to modulate biomarkers, it is most likely the case that at least some of the effect is indirect, and works through interaction with our gut microbiome.
If gut bacteria are feeding on the larger cocoa polyphenols, then it follows that the composition of the intestinal microbiome will be altered. In fact, one study did discover a beneficial prebiotic effect of high flavanol chocolate consumption. After a period of 4 weeks of consuming a high flavanol cocoa powder, subjects had a significant increase in bifidobacterial and lactobacilli populations, as well as significantly decreased clostridia levels.
- Cellular Rejuvenation (Anti-Aging)
Last, but certainly not least, cacao can enhance mitochondrial biogenesis, or, the creation of new mitochondria! It is the flavanol epicatechin in chocolate which is responsible for mitogenesis. Treatment with epicatechin also improved exercise performance by 50% compared to controls, and enhanced muscle fatigue resistance by 30%.
NB: Sugar and Milk reverses the health benefits of Chocolate
By now you may be interested in picking up some chocolate, but be sure you get one with as little sugar as possible, or even none.
The consumption of chocolate has been linked to improving memory, short-term cognitive function and counteracting cognitive decline, according to new research.
The useful antioxidant abundant compounds found in cocoa beans are called cocoa flavanols.
Choc Amor was successful in gaining at International Chocolate Awards 2017 British Champions, Gold (Three Pepper), Silver (Salt & Pepper Lemongrass) and two Bronze (Bitter Orange and Turkish Charm 50%). At the Academy of Chocolates 2017 Choc Amor gained two Silvers (Three Pepper and Turkish Charm)……
We’ve teamed up with two Lancashire food fanatics to create a series of recipes for the ultimate Easter pies, Holland’s chocolate pies!
Baking tools at the ready!
Working with celebrity chef Tom Bridge, off The Great British Bake Off, and Choc Amor’s Master Chocolatier Paul Williams, from Tarleton, Lancashire, we have created three recipes for a series of savoury taste sensations, each with a hint of smooth, rich chocolate; including, Lamb and Potato Ragu Pie with Dark Chocolate; Butlers Blacksticks Blue Cheese and Onion Pie with Milk Chocolate; and Chicken and Mushroom Pie with White Chocolate, Garlic, Coffee and hint of Chilli.
The perfect treats for Easter; these pies are a seasonal classic from the Lancashire food legends.
Pie professional, and award-winning chef, Tom Bridge commented, “This Lancashire collaboration has been a great experience, using my knowledge of pies with Paul’s chocolate skills – we have created a real treat for Holland’s fans to bake over the Easter period!”
Choc Amor is yet another exquisite gourmet food shop in Cedar Farm that delights customers with indulgent Belgian chocolate. This award winning chocolate can be found in retail outlets and farmers markets across Lancashire.
The shop itself has a warm natural interior, with stacked wooden crates to display rows of rich chocolates in different flavors and forms. Birdcages and lanterns are peppered around the shop which adds to its bohemian feel.
MEET the finalists in one of the most anticipated nights in the culinary calendar – the Lancashire Life & Lake District Life Food and Drink Awards.
This evening of excitement, fun and celebration will salute the stars who make the hospitality and food industries among the most important contributors to our region’s economy.
Employing tens of thousands and generating millions in revenue, Lancashire Life aims to showcase all that’s great about our food producers and the people who turn it into delicious dishes at hotels, dining pubs and restaurants. We also salute the retailers who also play a significant role.
Tarleton’s favourite chocolate shop has swept the board at an awards show with their unique flavours.
Choc Amor was successful in gaining a Gold with its Orange Jalfrezi chocolate, two Silvers, with its Chilli and Lime and Salt Liquorice combinations and a Bronze for its Tonka Bean, Smoked Sea Salt and Cocoa Nib at the International Chocolate Awards.
Paul Williams, Director and Umpa Lumpa Rustler at Choc Amor said: “We are completely blown away this year, not just by getting four awards in the British Championships for our flavoured chocolate but winning a coverted Gold award for our Orange Jalfrezi in milk chocolate.
“The International Chocolate Awards helps to confirm that we are building a great brand based on taste and makes us stand out from others. By winning we are put through to the World Finals held in London later in the year so watch this space.
Tarleton’s favourite chocolate shop has swept the board at an awards show with their unique flavours.
Being made redundant from a job in banking worked out rather well for Paul Williams of Choc Amor. He decided to indulge his passion for good food and cooking and set up a chocolate making business in Tarleton. The multi-award winning chocolatier produces handmade, small batch Belgian covertures chocolate. It is all made on-site at the Choc Amor tea rooms where you can watch Paul at work.
There are lots of flavours to choose from including peanut butter, rum and raisin and chilli and lime. The latter, along with his orange jalfrezi and Tonka bean with smoked sea salt and cocoa nib, earned him some Great Taste Awards. If you can’t get to Tarleton it is also available at the Little Chocolate Shop at Botany Bay in Chorley or at the many food events and farmers markets Paul attends.
Belgian couverture chocolate… even the words sound delicious. This is a type of chocolate that contains extra cocoa butter, resulting in a beautiful sheen, a firm snap when breaking and—most important—a wonderful creaminess on the palate.
Outside of Belgium, a top spot for tracking down this special treat is The Chocolate Rooms in the village of Tarleton, Lancashire. Owned by Paul Williams, the man behind local brand Choc Amor, this offers not only chocolates, but also cakes and lunches.
The place she spotted had been an old cow shed in Tarleton many years back but she and her husband Paul saw its potential. ‘It was completely wrong for chocolate and baking, but it had something special,’ said Jacqui.
They both embarked on a radical change of direction. He had worked in the finance industry and she was a senior buyer in the textile trade, travelling the world to seek out new products. They set up Choc Amor, a bijou shop and chocolate workshop in Botany Bay, Chorley.
Success meant they needed to expand so, while keeping the original outlet and with the support of an ‘amazing landlord’, they moved into Tarleton creating The Chocolate Rooms providing chocolates, cakes, platters, sandwiches and salads.