As Adrian lay on the bed still in pain we went to Charley’s Chocolate Factory. Unfortunate it wasn’t anything like the movie. The coco bean only grows in small areas in the world. They are very fussy about growing in Australia but they seem to like a small pocket just outside of Mission Beach. At this point in time Charley’s Chocolate factory is the only plantation of coco beans in Australia. We were given a little talk about the history of chocolate.
- Will lower the risk of strokes. For women just 45 grams a week can minimize risk of a stroke by up to 20%. (I know I ate chocolate for a reason.)
- Can increase sensitivity to insulin lowering the risk of diabetes.
We were told dark chocolate would help:
- In protection from UV damage. (The lady did make sure we understood it only helped. It didn’t prevent so always use sunscreen.)
- Reduce coughing. (People are work on making cough medicine with Theobromine instead of codeine. The Theobromine is found in chocolate.)
- Improve mental health by boosting a person’s mood.
- Lower the risk of heart disease by lower bad cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.
Coco is said to:
- Boost blood flow. It is said to have anti-clotting and blood thinning properties.
- Be the fountain of youth as it helps protect the body against diseases and aging. (Did I tell you I ate chocolate for a reason here is another good reason.)
- Prevent memory loss by increasing blood flow to the brain and protecting brain cells.
To reap all the benefits, the chocolate should be a minimum of 70% cocoa and one should have more than 4 bars a week. If you are thinking I will be the side of a house if I eat all that chocolate, don’t worry. Dark chocolate is rich in fiber so it will slow down the digestion and make you feel fuller for longer. It will also help reduce cravings that can cause weight gain. (Mmm but what happens if I crave chocolate?)
There were other things we were told about chocolate but they didn’t give me a reason to eat chocolate so I forgot about that bit.
The owner cut a coco bean in half to show us the bean. The beans didn’t look that appetizing.
We took a walk first to the greenhouse. To get the bean ready for the Australian heat they are seeded in a greenhouse, which cut out 75% of the sun glare. By the time they are ready to be planted the young plants have been moved several times, each time decreasing the shade. After we looked at the green house we walked around the paddock to look at the coco plants. When the pods turn yellow they are ready to harvest. (The owner did mention about the red beans but I can’t remember what he said so I can’t tell you if they are different or not. Sorry.)
Then we went back to the shed for some taste testing. Hoary. We didn’t get to taste every different flavor of the chocolate just some of the most popular or the new ones.
What did I think of the chocolate? It was chocolate so it was still yummy but I found it to be not as sweet as other chocolate. The factory only produces dark chocolate and that is my preference. Dark chocolate generally isn’t a sweet at milk chocolate so it should have been right up my alley but for me the chocolate wasn’t very sweet at all, it lacked something. I purchased a block ($9 for 200g) for Adrian. We ate it for dessert that night and Adrian agreed with me. He was a little surprised at the price. The factory has won almost every competition they have entered and we were told they sell everything as soon as they make it. The chocolate is different but for me, I wouldn’t purchase another block.
As part of the tour we were given lunch. The local Lions Club comes in to cook everyone a hamburger. It was very basic: Bun, leaf of lettuce and the hamburger. You got to choose the sauce, tomato or BBQ.
While I didn’t like the hamburger and just ate the paddy with the lettuce leaf, I love the idea that the Factory gave the job of making lunch to one of the locals clubs. For that reason well done to the Lions Club. They do a lot of good work.
Footnote: The name of the factory doesn’t come from the moves but from the title of a book.