Chocolate isn’t bad for you at all, here’s why

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Pastry and chocolate maker Kirsten Tibballs knows that most of us try to resist her temptations because we’re told it’s ‘bad’ for us, but she also knows this confection is one of the greatest pleasures of life.

It was a shaky start to working with chocolate. I remember the first thing I ever cooked was from the Mickey Mouse cookbook.

It was a chocolate cake I made with my best friend in her mom’s new oven. We followed the recipe to the letter. We had no idea that the cup and a half of flour we added was actually baking soda … and it exploded!

Chocolate and pastry have always been part of my life. I was sick as a teenager and didn’t really go to school. Instead, I used to bake and sell cakes at home.

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As soon as I could, I started an apprenticeship. As I was often at home, I developed an absolute passion for baking, and in particular for decorating cakes.

In 2004, I was recognized as the best in the world for my handmade chocolates after representing Australia at the World Pastry Championships in Las Vegas and winning a gold medal at the Pastry Olympics in Germany.

Everyone wanted to talk about my chocolates, which ultimately led to my appearances in MasterChef Australia and my nickname “The Chocolate Queen”.

When people meet me, they suddenly breathe – everyone’s eyes light up when you mention chocolate.

I think people react like that because chocolate is one of the greatest pleasures in life. The fact that I have the ability to create things with chocolate and to share this knowledge means that I have been well and truly blessed.

There is such a big appetite for talking about chocolate and its health benefits – and yes, there really are some health benefits to chocolate.

Here are just a few:

1. It is a boost of well-being

Eating chocolate reproduces the feeling of being in love – which is why people love it so much. This causes the brain to release endorphins and make us happy, which is always a good thing.

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants which have an incredible effect on the body. When consumed in moderation, chocolate can help reduce cell damage and lower the risk of heart disease.

While these health benefits are more prevalent in dark chocolate, they’re also present in milk chocolate – but not so much in white chocolate, I’m afraid.

2. It’s a nutritious treat

There is a misconception that chocolate is highly processed and contains artificial flavors, but it is not. It starts out like the fruit of the cocoa tree and contains very few ingredients.

The process is still the same as it was hundreds of years ago. What a lot of people don’t realize when buying chocolate is that you should always check that it contains cocoa butter and that it does not contain vegetable fat.

Chocolate made from vegetable fat not only has a disappointing aftertaste, it is also terrible for our health.

3. It’s a nourishing ritual

Since we started my online courses eight years ago, they have grown steadily, but over the past two years we have more than doubled our subscription base.

I attribute this to people who want to feed their families by cooking food that they have prepared themselves, and also because people have had more time to try different things that they might not have done. normally.

I think a lot of people will continue to embrace cooking as a way to feed and spoil their families.

The chocolate queen’s advice on Christmas dessert

With Christmas just around the corner, my advice for what to do for dessert is: Chocolate and Date Frozen Cake.

You don’t need an ice cream maker, it’s very easy to make and you can keep it in your freezer, ready to go, a few days before Christmas.

For me, the joy of Christmas and the party comes from not being in the kitchen all the time, but just sitting around and spending time with the family.

The Chocolate Queen will premiere at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on Foxtel.

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