August 30th, just one day left to  feel relaxed without guilt as the spirit of the holidays lingers. September 1st heralds the start line of the Christmas marathon, a 4 months challenge to create, produce, pack, ship our fine chocolates.  The best way i can describe how this slightly insane and ever more demanding race is through one of my childhood favourite character: Mr Road Runner, running as fast as possible and still ending up in trouble!

In September, more than during any other month,  i need chocolate to pick me up, lift my mood, comfort me as the countdown tightens and things inevitable go wrong. Luckily for me, chocolate is the perfect mood enhancing food thanks to a little molecule in it with a big name: phenylethylamine or PEA. This unpronounceable molecule is a natural compound acting as a neurotransmitter that allows the brain to release serotonin and dopamine. The first, a  Zen inducing molecule, helps level off emotions ;  the second, akin to infatuation, brightens our view of the world around us. Both of these are present in a variety of medicines treating all sort of ailments from depression to Parkinson. Indeed chocolate historically was consumed as a medicine to nourish the body and mind as Hernando Cortes noticed in the 16th century: "the divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue, a cup of this precious drink permits man to walk for a whole day without food".

I start most Autumn days with a hot chocolate as i did every day whilst i trained as a cocoa farmer in Colombia. I also  keep a 100% bar on my desk, nibbling it as needed. Made from milder beans and conched and refined for longer, our 100% is surprisingly pleasurable (one can not hide with only one ingredient) and has become one of our most popular products. favoured by athletes. My athletic ambition is limited to completing another Christmas marathon!

Have a happy chocolate week Miss Anne x