"Fuel your body...Delight your senses"
Stephanie Brina-Herres, MS, RD, CDN
Stephanie is an American Heart Association award winning Registered Dietitian (RD) and NY State credentialed Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist (CDN).
With solid expertise built over more than three decades of practice and spanning six states, Stephanie's background includes being a seasoned clinician, consultant, educator (including full-time professor), presenter, author, researcher, program coordinator, consumer scientist (including recipe developer), advocate, counselor, coach, and mentor.
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Whether cooking for one or for many, our motto is: Get more out of life and enjoy life more.
Let food be your source of nutrients to fuel your lifestyle and delight your senses!
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The National Retail Federation expects Easter candy sales (of all types of candy, including chocolate) to top 2 billion in 2012.
(European Chocolate Easter Eggs photo courtesy of Gesinek at rgbstock.com)
Let me preface the following remarks by saying that the females involved in running the sensory nutrition blog site appreciate really good cacao sources as much as any other real women, but as with all such goodies, moderation goes a long, long way combined with a dash of common sense.
A little high quality chocolate will provide more intense sensory enjoyment per kcal so if you treat yourself, why not make every bite count?!
Now if only fruit & vegetable sales for the Easter holiday were also measured in the billions with steady double digit growth most years!
FYI–as an aside, you can find a curious view comparing the sugar content of filled candy Easter eggs (as sold in the USA by a well-known manufacturer) to the sugar content of a 12 oz. can or 20 oz bottle of soda pop here).
In the USA, Easter ranks just behind Christmas in popularity for purchases of chocolate and other types of candy according to industry sources. It is estimated that perhaps some 78% of the US population actually celebrates Easter in some secular way or another. According to this industry source, secular trends for celebrating Easter include decorating, some baking, some gift exchanges including Easter baskets, egg hunts, and dinners.
Hershey has successfully raised candy prices particularly for chocolate based confections, as have most candy and specialty holiday chocolate manufacturers world-wide. If you have seen the Spring time foil covered and other chocolate Easter Bunnies and foil covered and other chocolate Easter eggs, you already know that. In other parts of the world, even in tough economic times, sales of Chocolate Easter Bunnies & Eggs are still going strong.
Swiss chocolate maker Lindt notes that their legendary gold foil wrapped bunnies are their biggest seller globally helping to maintain their international image. (Lindt owns the international copyright on its gold foil Easter bunny design that comes in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and a white confectionery candy product). You can find a Gold foil bunny photo on Facebook pages.
Filled candy Easter eggs are popular in Europe and the European Association for the Standardization and Regulation of Easter Egg Colour Coding even proposed a confectionery Easter egg colour coding system to help consumers determine what they might find inside a wrapped egg (solid vs. soft vs liquid center, vs crunchy particles in the chocolate, etc.). (Graphic of various sizes and types of chocolate Easter eggs courtesy of clipartpal.com)
Despite difficult economic times, chocolate sales continue to be sources of good economic news for all of the various manufacturers. Upward trends in sales figures continue to be reported by US-based Mars-Wrigley and Britain-based Cadbury, both of which have a larger presence in the global chocolate market than their Swiss-based competitors, with other industry presences of Zurich-based Barry Callebaut also reporting in.
I guess the old adage attributed to Dr. Freud (that in times of anxiety and uncertainty, people will turn to chocolate for some sort of psychological boost) turns out to be true after all!
Chocolate is considered by many to be an affordable small pleasure when folks feel they are not in the position to buy out-of-reach luxuries. In the tight markup food business, chocolate is considered more recession-resilient and it turns a nice profit to boot, explaining why it is positioned higher on food shelves and prominently at the check-out line in all sorts of retail establishments.
The future of the fragile cacao tree has already been discussed in many places on the www including a short piece offered by Scientific American. Corporate profit desires combined with increasing world-wide demand continue to put pressure on the market place, and issues of child labor in the harvesting of the cacao beans also continues to be of serious concern as noted in a piece by CNN.
Nonetheless, the flavor of good quality natural processed cocoa powder and chocolate is undeniable in its appeal to many despite all the concerns.
Easter is a time of celebration and bluntly for all the seasonal holidays, people want their chocolate! A good time to remember that less of something more flavorful really can pack more punch than more of something less flavorful.
Allowing a small amount of USA based Joseph Schmidt Confections, or those of Belgian based De Granville, or French based Valrhona, etc., won’t signal the end of the world. So let a child in your circle of life (even if it is the child in you) enjoy a little chocolate delicacy this Easter if you are so inclined and your dietary plan allows.
Mindfully enjoy the sensory experience and only buy enough for a pleasant remembrance of the season.
Alternatives to buying more expensive “Easter shapes” of chocolate confections might include enjoying red, ripe, luscious strawberries dipped in a little melted chocolate–a true classic appropriate for any holiday or special occasion if your dietary plan allows. Image courtesy of crazeeoutoflove10 at photobucket.
You can even make a dark naturally processed cocoa-based chocolate flavor lamb’s cake if you keep the cake flat and use a lighter recipe (traditional lamb’s cake recipes are based on pound or similar dense cakes to keep the heavy head from falling off of the neck if the cake is vertical, so lighter, less dense cakes will require the cake to be laid down horizontally to avoid that mishap–trust us on that lesson learned years ago;) …
Whatever you choose to do, make it a conscious choice & savor the flavors of the season–to the chagrin of the confectionery industry, Easter comes but once a year.
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