In Praise of Chocolate
As a rule, Balans Soho Society doesn’t like to offer up our praises to chocolate in public. We generally prefer to be in praise of chocolate, in private, where nothing or no one other than a box set on Netflix can see us. It’s a well known fact, of course, that any kind of sweet treat eaten alone contains little or no calories so we’ve always preferred to keep our love of all things from the Theobroma cacao tree a secret indulgence.
Then we read about how some of the ingredients in chocolate have a subtle influence on the chemistry of the brain and given that our other love aside from chocolate has long been subtle influences on the chemistry of the brain, we felt it vital we investigate further on behalf of you, our dear readers.
Apparently, there are over 300 naturally-occurring chemicals in chocolate. Cocoa is an absolute chemical powerhouse with all manner of active compounds that affect everything from energy levels to mood. Caffeine is one – producing a feeling of well being and alertness. Theobromine acts in a similar fashion, but the one to watch out for is Phenylethylamine which is utterly impossible to pronounce, but is the thing that is really responsible for the sheer pleasure of eating chocolate. It turns out it’s amusingly similar in chemical structure to amphetamine – not that we would know anything about that, of course – Balans Soho Society is high on life. You put that together with another compound found in chocolate – cannabinoids, which, (the clue is in the name) is also found in cannabis as well as enkephalin, which has similar properties to opium and we’re hardly surprised that the average Brit eats around 24lb of chocolate per year. We’re all wandering around in a blissed out haze, stuffing our contented faces. Face it – you can’t argue with chemistry so you might as well turn directly to the desserts menu and just give into the science…
We feel you can work too hard at a title. We’ve just called this ‘Chocolate’. Given that it’s actually white & dark chocolate mousse, passion fruit gel and meringue, perhaps we’re underselling it a tad… Happy Easter!
Tequila probably won’t solve any or all your problems, but it’s well worth a shot – especially served with crème de menthe, marischino, cream and dark chocolate shavings. It’s dessert in a glass. Happy Easter!