Although today is officially marked as the National Chocolate Day in Ghana to promote locally made Golden Tree Chocolates, there are no bars of the chocolate in most of the big supermarkets, gift shops and other smaller shops.
The market is flooded with foreign chocolates and most of the supermarkets do not have a place for the Golden Tree on their shelves.
On most of the shelves are imported brands such as Lindor, Bounty, Milkyway bars, Celebration Collections, Swiss bars, Ferrero Rocher, Dairy milk, Galaxy, Maltesers, Aero, Roses, KitKat, Kinder Bueno, Toblerone, Twix, among others.
Apart from the brands, consumers are spoilt for choice in terms of flavours and types.
For instance, there are dark chocolate, milky chocolate, white chocolates, sugar-free bars, soya bars, those with nuts and vanilla flavours and more.
These exotic chocolate bars and candies range between GH¢15 per bar and as much as GH¢200, depending on the size of the package.
Interestingly, apart from the Cocoa House retail shop in the heart of Accra which has some assorted Golden Tree products for sale, few hawkers are seen on the street selling the Ghanaian chocolate which is rich in genuine cocoa content, at GH¢5 per the big bar.
Ironically, a recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report noted that the dominance of foreign chocolate brands in Ghana affected the growith of the local products and hinders the ability of local Golden Tree to compete overseas.
Golden Tree products have however, won several awards in international competitions.
The Mirror asked some of the shop owners why they were not selling the Golden Tree chocolate and they explained that the Cocoa Processing Company did not bring regular supplies, hence the increased presence of foreign chocolates.
February 14 (Valentine’s Day) is a day traditionally set aside annually to celebrate love in many countries.
In Ghana, the day used to be associated with social vices and other unhealthy behaviour. The Ghana Tourism Authority, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, thus re-christened February 14 as CHOCOLATE DAY.
This was aimed at reducing the social vices associated with the day, while promoting the consumption of chocolate, and for that matter Ghana’s cocoa.
As part of events marking the day, the tourism authority, hotels, restaurants and most public places, including corporate organisations, show their love through the sharing of chocolate products.
New research has proven that chocolate is good not only for the soul, but for the mind and body as well. It is no coincidence that the botanical name of the cocoa plant from which chocolate originates is Theobroma: “food of the gods.”
Chocolate contains hundreds of compounds, and many of them come with benefits that go far beyopd a few delicious moments of sweetness.’
Studies have already established, for example, that chocolate contains resveratrol, an important compound that not only protects one’s brain and nervous system, but actually prolongs one’s life.