Oh no! A chocolate shortage?

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My friends Alan and Mimi from Cornwall alerted me to this alarming article in the Independent. Could we be facing a chocolate shortage?

According to the article,

...chocoholics should brace themselves. Fears over a global chocolate shortage have sparked a run on the dark stuff on world cocoa markets that has pushed the price up of cacao beans (used to make cocoa) to their highest level for more than two years [...]

The price of cocoa futures, which is how the beans are traded on world commodity markets, has climbed steadily since last November, reviving fears of the cocoa crisis of 2002 that forced major manufacturers such as Nestlé to hike the price of some of its chocolate bars.

The article even implies that the growing popularity of dark chocolate, which uses proportionately more cacao mass than milk chocolate, could be contributing to the chocolate shortage.

Of course, a price hike is probably not going to affect the buying habits of chocoholics anywhere, and it's highly unlikely we will actually experience a real chocolate shortage. (Imagine the outrage! The riots! Shock, horror!) Would you hesitate to buy your favorite chocolate bar even if it went up in price? I wouldn't.

I've grown to appreciate dark chocolate more and more these days, especially since a lot of small chocolatiers in Switzerland have been cranking out some very interesting chocolates with a vengeance. Swiss chocolatiers were a bit late on the dark chocolate bandwagon but they are compensating for that now.

But I I have to say that, while the dark thrill of high-cocoa content dark chocolate is great, I enjoy milk chocolate just as well. The best milk chocolate, and by that I mean the best Swiss milk chocolate, melts like a creamy, soft cloud in your mouth. The article quotes the head of the Chocolate Society (!) who says, "With dark chocolate you are tasting the cocoa, whereas with milk you are tasting the recipe." I agree with that totally.

The ideal combination is a piece of intense, dark, spine-tingling chocolate, teamed with a creamy smooth milk chocolate, perhaps with a cup of coffee. Excuse me as I make a late-night chocolate run to the kitchen...

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