Mindfulness and Chocolate
This Easter we’ve teamed up with the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) to help raise awareness about mental health in New Zealand and the help that is available for people experiencing mental health problems. Everyone has mental health and it’s important people know they are not alone and that they deserve to be supported.
The Mental Health Foundation covers the A-Z of mental health information and support, taking a holistic approach and promoting what they know makes and keeps people mentally well. They work in schools, workplaces and within the wider community, advocating for positive mental health and wellbeing through providing free support and resources, running campaigns and influencing policy.
One of tools the MHF promotes is mindfulness and we wanted to give you, our customers the opportunity to experience how powerful being mindful is, so we’ve put together a mindful eating exercise for you to try out while enjoying Honest Chocolat.
But what is mindfulness? Mindfulness basically means paying attention to what is presently occurring.
Research suggests that when we intentionally practise being mindful we feel less stressed, anxious and depressed, and more balanced and in tune with what is happening inside and outside of our bodies. The resulting calm and clarity boosts wellbeing, broadens perspective and provides an important foundation for learning.
So without further ado, peel open your favourite tablet of Honest Chocolat and give it a whirl…
Notice the colour of the chocolate. Does it have a reddish tinge or is it so dark it’s almost black? Look for the shine on the surface of the chocolate. If there are white marks on the chocolate this is known as blooming and is where the cocoa solids are separating from the fats within the chocolate. It's absolutely fine to still eat and certainly won't do you any harm, but it does affect the texture and mouthfeel of the chocolate (yes mouthfeel is a word!)
In the same way you smell a wine before taking a sip, if you smell chocolate it adds to the tasting experience. When you put the chocolate in your mouth you will be inadvertently smelling it anyway, through a process called retronasal olfaction, don't you know. When eating, the odour molecules travel from the back of the throat using the back entrance to the nose. This explains why you can’t taste properly when you have a cold.
Break the chocolate with your fingers and listen for that satisfying snap that indicates a well-tempered chocolate. Note the thickness of the bar and size of the squares and any textured pattern it has.
Now this requires some self-control not to wolf down the bar in one hit and then move on to the next one. You should let chocolate melt on the tongue to let the cocoa butter coat the palette and work with the bitterness of the cocoa solids. Notice how the flavour develops over time. Is the chocolate light/heavy, bitter/sweet, powdery/smooth, creamy/sharp? What flavours can you detect? Coffee / berries / smoke / caramel? Is the flavour long lasting or does it quickly vanish?
Now think about how this experience is different to how you would normally eat a bar of chocolate. Which gave you more satisfaction?
Don’t restrict your mindfulness to eating chocolate. Mindfulness can be applied to any food, thought, feeling, physical sensation, another person or things that are happening around you. By practising this over time you’ll strengthen your ability to pay attention, and you will feel more appreciative of the things around you.
To learn more about mindfulness please check out the Mental Health Foundation’s website on how to be more mindful.
You can enter our raffle online until Saturday 31st March 2018, for the chance to win an Honest Chocolat Giant Easter Egg and help to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation. Enter here