Most of us have childhood memories of plunging an arm deep into our stockings on Christmas morning and pulling out a Terry's Chocolate Orange. Of course, this assumption mostly depends on two conditions: that you celebrate Christmas and that you were a child at some point in your life. One of those is most definitely true, the other perhaps not; either way you can probably appreciate the rite of passage that comes with being gifted that distinctive sphere of segmented, citrus-scented choc.
Christmas and chocolate goes hand in hand. Throughout the festive period, we gorge ourselves on after-dinner minty treats, nutty shell-shaped bites and crack into bar after bar of the good and the bad. But here's a stark reality for you – and no, I'm not talking about your Christmas calorie count, but that our addiction to cheap chocolate might be about to bring the planet to its knees.
I know what you're thinking: "stop snowing on our Christmas cheer." It sucks, I agree. But in a recent conversation with chocolatier Paul A. Young, he enlightened me to the fact that most if, not all, supermarket chocolate contains palm oil. Mixed with other veg fats, it's a cheap alternative to cocoa butter, which manufacturers can cash in on by selling to the beauty industry, instead of swirling it through your favourite £1 bar.
But here’s the thing: it doesn't have to be that way. There are plenty of places in London and beyond where you can indulge in some amazing chocolate that hits the spot but doesn’t cost the earth. From Paul and his gift-worthy chocolate truffles to Chantal Coady OBE's classic combinations from Rococo, we're spoilt for choice when it comes to sourcing sustainable chocolate in the capital. So this festive period – a time of giving and new resolutions – why not resolve to give the planet its best chance by purchasing with purpose and spending just a touch more on our favourite food group? You might even find something orange-flavoured.