1 February

National Dark Chocolate Day

Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini

So we are drinking a...

Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini

Chocolate lovers, get ready to indulge! Today is National Dark Chocolate Day, and it's the perfect excuse to treat yourself to some rich, velvety, and oh-so-delicious dark chocolate. Whether you prefer it in bar form, truffles, or in your cocktails for that matter, there's no denying the allure of this decadent treat.

While it's true that all chocolate contains some health benefits, dark chocolate reigns supreme. With a higher percentage of cacao solids, dark chocolate boasts an abundance of antioxidants and nutrients that are good for our bodies. Cacao contains flavonoids, which are compounds that have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, dark chocolate is a great source of magnesium, which helps regulate heart rate, blood pressure, and helps to keep our bones strong.

But not all dark chocolate is created equal. When choosing the right bar, look for chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao (and isn't packed with sugar). The higher the cacao percentage, the more intense the chocolate flavour will be. Be sure to look for chocolate that's made with pure cacao butter, and avoid bars that contain added vegetable oils. And when it comes to flavour, test different brands to find your favourite. From sweet and nutty, to fruity and spicy, there's a dark chocolate out there to suit everyone's taste buds.

So, how can you celebrate National Dark Chocolate Day? We have a few ideas...

Bake with dark chocolate: whether it's chocolate chip cookies, brownies, or cake, dark chocolate adds depth of flavour to these delicious baked goodies.

Add dark chocolate to your coffee: for a twist on a classic coffee, try adding a few squares of dark chocolate to your morning brew.

And speaking of coffee, why not shake yourself up a Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini, our riff on Dick Bradsell's classic Espresso Martini?

No matter how you choose to celebrate, remember to savour every square of your dark chocolate – your body (and taste buds) will thank you!

The anniversary of the last Thames Frost Fair

On this day in 1814, the River Thames finally froze solid enough for Londoners to enjoy their last-ever frost fair.

Someone led an elephant across the river at Blackfriars to show the ice was safe to walk on; shopkeepers set up tents selling brandy, beer, wine and gin; someone set up an open fire, roasted a sheep on it and sold it as "Lapland mutton". When the ice melted a few days later, it was the end of an era. Victorian engineering changed the flow of the river, and the Thames would never freeze again.

We are commemorating the great fair, and our home city, with an aptly named Dry Ice Martini.

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