World Chocolate Day 2018: The Best Chocolate is More Than Just Food

Did you really think I would forget about World Chocolate Day?

It’s the most wonderful day of the year! A day to enjoy, explore, and excite your taste buds with a gift from the gods themselves: chocolate.

However, you cannot truly celebrate World Chocolate Day with ordinary chocolate purchased at the supermarket. No, no, no! Now is the time to break bad habits and educate yourself on the pleasure of chocolate. The good, the bad, and the deserving of your money.

Make yourself a hot chocolate and grab a choc-chip biscuit. It’s time for some chocolate worshipping.

Brief History of Chocolate

Most true chocolate-aficionados know chocolate originates from South America. The word “chocolate” is believed to come from the Aztec word “xocoatl”. However, chocolate back then was nothing like chocolate now. It was a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans and yet still considered the food of the gods.

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All Hail your Aztec Goddess, Evil Genius Mum / Thanks to the Aztec Exhibit at the National Museum, Sydney 2014

Both the Mayans and the Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical or divine properties. It was used in almost every sacred ritual from birth through to death and beyond. It was the extra special secret ingredient to … well, everything.

Sweetened chocolate, as we know it today, wasn’t really a thing until the Europeans discovered the Americas, and its local cuisine. Apparently, they didn’t really like the taste of it until they figured out how to mix it with honey or cane sugar. And then it really hit off.

Over time, chocolate has moved from being a luxury of the privileged upper class in Europe to the modern chocolate bar we lust after today. Joseph Fry, Cadbury, and Nestle have all had their impact on the development of chocolate and its availability in the mass market–for better or worse. Not all chocolate is created equal, being dependent on the quality of ingredients and the local influence. Trust me when I say, the chocolate used in ration packs for Australian soldiers over the last 30-years leaves MUCH to be desired.

The Art of the Chocolate

However, recently there has been a revolution amongst the chocolate lovers. No longer do we want it to be a common everyday grocery item. No longer do we want it to be a mass production of simple satisfaction for the general folk. We expect more from the ingredients, the production, and the end product we hold in our pretty little hands.

If you are going to celebrate World Chocolate Day, you have to do it right. Start with a local artisan who knows what they are talking about. I went straight to one of my favourites: Coco Chocolate in Kirribilli, Sydney.

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When you walk into their Kirribilli store, you are instantly greeted with a cozy French-provincial feel of ‘welcome’. Everything in the store looks and feels and smells artisan. It is a pure delight just being in the store. I love it. I can’t rave enough about it. And it is EXACTLY the place I wanted to be for World Chocolate Day.

Rhianna knew what I meant. She was the staff of the shop today and happy to chat. When I pointed out how difficult it would be for me to work in a place like this, she exclaimed “Oh, I totally understand!! It is way too easy to simply enjoy everything but when it’s good chocolate… like, really good chocolate… you only need a little bit to enjoy it. I have to show restraint but I love the good stuff so much more than the everyday stuff.”

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And that’s why they are perfect for World Chocolate Day.

World Chocolate Day

World Chocolate Day is not only about the chocolate (though, chocolate does deserve a day of worship). It is also a day to appreciate the cost of providing the world with chocolate. As soon as something is considered popular and valuable, you can guarantee greed will come in and ruin it. Chocolate is no exception. So many companies are too willing to source cheap cacao from vulnerable communities without any care for the impact it has. Companies who are purchasing water reservoirs and then selling it back to the locals at hyped prices because their CEO’s don’t consider water to be an essential right. Companies who are poisoning cacao trees, forcing farmers to sell up for ridiculously low prices and face destitution. Companies who don’t care how young their bean pickers are, so long as they are picking beans. Yeah, I’m looking at you Nestle.

EG Inc does not purchase or accept any Nestle products, due to its unethical behaviour in relation to water and cacao in South America, and palm oil in Borneo.

We are far happier spending our money with more reputable businesses, like Coco Chocolate. In fact, they say it best on their site:

All cacao couverture sourced for tempering at Coco Chocolate is ethical and producers are members of SEDEX, ensuring ethical and responsible practices in labour standards (including employment conditions, profitable income for farmers, supporting community development projects and no child labour), health and safety, the environment and business ethics. As a result all can enjoy Coco Chocolate – creating value for all through the supply chain with transparency, traceability, productivity and quality. – Coco Chocolate website

Why is it so important for me to share this with you? Because you need to know how easy it is to find businesses who are doing the right thing and reward them! THAT is what World Chocolate Day is about. Raising awareness of the conflict with chocolate and bring good businesses into the light. If you are doing the right thing, you deserve a bit of love.

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So today, on World Chocolate Day, I am telling you to share some love with a local business. Find a store doing the right thing; be it work conditions, ethical sources, or employing the vulnerable. Be like the chocolate and give them some of your love. Share your divine purchasing power and show them your support. Let them know you see them.

If you have a local fave, share their details in the comments below. We all want to know the best places to spend our money. And by the way, if you want to try out Coco Chocolate yourself, they have an online store:

http://cocochocolate.com.au/shop/

My favourites are the Organic White Chocolate with Rose & Bergamot and the Organic Dark Chocolate with Rose & Black Pepper. *sigh*

Go! Chocolate! Be merry!

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or paid article. And while the staff at Coco Chocolate do provide delicious tasters, all opinions are my own. 

How to Optimise (Non-) Scripture Class

The Romans have a lot to answer for.

They perfected the art of assimilation. It is no coincidence that the Borg in Star Trek have the same name as a Maltese family I am related to. Either way, resistance is futile.

Have a look at their religion. Basically, take a local festival, add a bit of Latin prayer and rename it something ‘Roman’. The dumb-arse heathens won’t know the difference! If they do, we’ll just crucify them.

Race ahead to modern day, and the issue of religion still has the same approach. They will still try to assimilate anyone, in any manner possible. Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem if our public schools actually practiced the supposed Separation of Church and State. They do? Really? So why is the New South Wales Government trying to make it easier for schools to just put students straight in to Scripture classes?

Now don’t get me wrong – if you want to send your kid to Scripture class, great. Happy for you. You do know that most faiths have lessons for that on the weekend when such devout followers like yourselves are usually attending prayer or mass or whatever, right? I mean, it’s a great system. Take Catholicism for example: you can attend mass, and little Johnny can attend Mass.PG at the same time. And it doesn’t fuck around with valuable educational time for the rest of the public school.

In our local public school, someone is trying to convince families that Scripture is really the best option. How? Make Non-Scripture class as boring, plain, and insulting as possible. Our school does not offer the Ethics classes that have been talked about a lot throughout Australia. Instead, they take the Non-Scripture kids to a ‘common-room’, where they can still hear the games and singing from other Scripture classes. They then sit the Non-Scripture class kids down and have them watch Hanna Barbera cartoons, or better yet – colouring in. The supervising teacher is not allowed to interact with the kids unless it is for basic essentials.

There’s some strategic brilliance right there. And it works. I know of at least 3 kids in Sinister’s grade alone who have changed to a Scripture class because the parents don’t want their kids’ brains to rot for the same 20mins every week.

Well played. Not sure if it is the teachers or the church or the school administration. Nevertheless, well played.

SO! In full respect of said strategic brilliance, EG Dad and I use Sinister’s (Non-)Scripture class to educate him on world mythologies/religions in preparation for his world domination. Learn the faiths and rigmaroles of the locals, re-work them, and voila! Evil Genius becomes world leader.

Each week I prepare 5 pages in a scrap book on the current faith of his choosing (last term Norse; this term Egyptology). I write a third of a page of information, and Sinister draws a picture of his understanding. Norse was great – he learnt all about honour, loyalty, respect, and other noble virtues. Now he knows exactly how to manipulate these characteristics in minions. Owly Images

But hey – let’s go a step further. Now the New South Wales Government is removing any obligation for a school to even tell parents that they can opt-out of Scripture classes. Only when a parent tells the school that they choose not to sign-up for Scripture, then the school will advise if there is an Ethics class or if there are enough colouring pencils.

Sweet – the less informed parents and students in society, the less resistance EG Inc. will have in its strive towards World Domination.

Choose whichever class you want. If you are that committed to your faith, then show your commitment and do it in your own time.

But know this – last week, Sinister taught 4 other kids in his class (2 Anglican, 1 Jewish, 1 Catholic) how to write their name in Hieroglyphs. This week, he has promised to help them design their own temples – to themselves, of course.

Seems Sinister has inherited some Roman strategic brilliance as well.