Choccies to Make Us Go Cocoa Nuts; Food:Week End

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CHOCOLATE is the most craved food on the planet and at Christmastime we all seem to give in to our cravings and become ever so slightly - chocoholic.

And why not? Chocolate is a great stress-buster, but it doesn't only make us feel good, in moderation, it actually does us good too.

Italian scientists have discovered that eating dark chocolate can help control diabetes and blood pressure. It's good for the heart too. Flavonoids can be found in chocolate which can potentially help prevent cardiovascular diseases.

A study also shows that an ingredient of chocolate called theobromine is more effective at stopping persistent coughs than leading cough medicines.

And if you need any further convincing that it really is okay to eat chocolate, according to US research, people who eat chocolate up to three times a month live almost a year longer than those who eat too much or those who steer clear of the substance altogether.

So enjoy a chocolaty Christmas because there are some scrumptious choccy gifts around. Whether it's last-minute presents, or you just want to treat yourself and the family, check out these mouth-watering treats.

GODIVA Chocolatier has developed a striking and very luxurious Christmas collection with their new line of sparkling Pop chocolates. No sooner has the finesse of the white or dark chocolate shell started to melt on the tongue and mix with a layer of velvety smooth mousse, than a real explosion hits the taste buds - a totally unique experience.

TV CHEF Gordon Ramsay has a new range of luxury boxed chocolates. Secrets and Just Desserts are both guaranteed to impress. Gordon showcases his unique gift for fusing flavours and textures with creative taste combinations such as salted fudge and honeycomb, and almond and amaretto.

SPARE dads from singing socks and flashing ties this Christmas and give him something he'll really want - a tasty Toblerone. Big peaks of solid chocolate with chewy honey and almond nougat mean dads will want to scoff their present instead of stash it away.

QUALITY STREET has brought its old favourites back together in a new limited-edition Retro pack. Enjoy past favourites such as gooseberry cream, solid chocolate octagon, coffee cream and toffee deluxe plus a delicious assortment of toffees and chocolates.

ORGASMIC Chocolates is a new range of luxurious Swiss chocolate bars made using organic and Fairtrade-certified cocoa beans, which were launched only in November. Unlike any other chocolate, the bars include a subtle blend of Chinese herbs said to produce a mellowing effect, promote a feeling of euphoria, and heighten the sensory experience of eating chocolate.

Chocolate facts CHOCOLATE has a melting point of 34C, just below body temperature. So it melts immediately when placed in the mouth.

FOR 90 per cent of chocolate's history, it was consumed in liquid form.

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS is thought to be the first European to have discovered chocolate, in 1502.

CHOCOLATE was considered an aphrodisiac by the Aztecs and women were forbidden to eat it. …