Editorial: Choc Till You Drop

18 April 2019 Amy Hetherington

Editorial: Choc Till You Drop

Australians eat five kilos of chocolate a year; I may have eaten my lot during the making of this magazine. Perhaps it ought to come with a health warning.

Ever since the cacao bean was first celebrated by the ancient Mesoamericans, humans and chocolate have gone together like chocolate and, well, everything.

The history of this treat is long and storied, but there’s no greater chocolate tale than Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In this edition, we bring you the chocoholic author’s famous cacao to arms, as he lobbies for chocolate history to be taught in schools.

As a nine-year-old I had my own Willy Wonka moment: a private tour of the Rowntree-Hoadley factory in Melbourne’s outer-north. There were Smartie machines in every colour, piles of Minties, Jaffas and Bertie Beetles. My uncle Ashley smuggled us in on a quiet Sunday. He was our Willy Wonka, a production supervisor creating Kit Kats, Polly Waffles and childhood dreams. When my parents separated, Ashley kindly took us in; his big sister and her two young kids. We stayed for about 18 months; the factory tour was a goodbye of sorts. As we skipped dizzily after him, plastic bags in hand, he scooped up Aero bars, Violet Crumbles and handfuls of our favourite Quality Streets (the purples ones for me, the green ones for my brother). They all went into the world’s best-ever showbags. The sugar high lasted weeks, but I can still smell the magic of those memories.

So tuck in to this tasty edition as we celebrate all things chocolate: Contributing Editor Anastasia Safioleas has her own chocolate-covered adventure alongside a master chocolatier Arno Backes; we visit a cacao farm in Guatemala, where generations of women make chocolate by hand; and “Queen of Chocolate” Kirsten Tibballs shares her recipe for a very special dessert.

» by Amy Hetherington (@AmyHetherington), Editor.

This article first appeared in Ed#585 of The Big Issue.