Pleasing vintage with bouquet of chocolate

Shoppers are starting to select their chocolate bars as they would a bottle of wine - studying the cocoa content and the origin of the beans.

British retailers are stocking specialist high-cocoa bars from places such as Ecuador and more than a third of consumers have bought "origin" chocolate that sources cocoa from one country.

Barry Callebaut, a Belgian chocolate maker that produces bars for supermarkets, commissioned a poll of 6000 shoppers in the United States, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, France and Britain. It found that 43 per cent of British people had tried Fairtrade, twice as many as in Germany, France and Belgium.

A third of Britons had bought organic chocolate and 34 per cent, had tried "origin" chocolate, compared with 22 per cent in 2006. One-in-10 said they eat single-country chocolate several times a month.

Asked "when do you buy chocolate?", 42 per cent of Britons said Christmas, 31 per cent Easter and 61 per cent revealed there was "no special occasion". Against the trend, most of the Easter eggs and bunnies opened in Britain today will be mass-produced with a low cocoa content.

- INDEPENDENT

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