Autumn – The Perfect Excuse to Eat Chocolate

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For as long as I can remember my favourite season has been Autumn. I love the cooler weather, the crisper mornings and the amazing colours of nature. It also helps, I think, that my birthday is in October and, as a child (when birthdays were big, wondrous occasions) I associated walking through the leaves in my wellies with the proximity of this all-important date. Nowadays, birthdays not so much – I swear I get another ‘laugh line’ with every year – but Autumn is still my favourite time of year, quite simply because I get to indulge in chocolate without feeling guilty about it!

Now, by profession I’m a nurse and, for as long as I’ve worked on the wards, I’ve been munching on chocolates given to the staff by patients grateful for the care they received (or perhaps, just grateful to be leaving!) However, there does seem to be somewhat of a trend to the chocolate-giving ritual and, during the spring and summer months, patients are more apt to give us a box of biscuits or fruit hampers. I’m assuming it’s something to do with finer weather but, regardless, come the shorter days and the cooler nights and all of a sudden we’re back to the tins of Cadbury’s Roses and Nestlé‘s Quality Street!

And that’s just the start of a season-long welcome to chocolate gluttony! No sooner are the days getting shorter than kids are eagerly planning their Halloween costumes and, of course, with Halloween comes chocolate. Now, okay, we’re not as Spooky-crazy as other countries but already shops like Sainsbury’s and Tesco are promoting bags of every kind of FunSize chocolate bar you can think of and, on October 31st, your neighbours will be giving them all away!

Then before you know it, we’re into December and our daily dose of chocolate courtesy of Advent Calendars. I always buy my kids (even my older teenagers) an advent calendar each – I pick them up pretty cheap from Asda, usually on a 2-for-1 deal which means I end up with six, one for each of the kids and the other for my husband. Now, you’d think being the chocoholic that I am, I’d keep that sixth one for myself but no, I’m much smarter than that! By being so ‘selfless’ I get to indulge in ‘posher’ chocs – my hubby always feels so grateful that he always buys me a luxury Advent calendar full of luxury chocolates from specialists Hotel Chocolat. I have a particular fondness for this chocolate stemming back, I think, to the first time I ever received a gift box of their finest selection after my son was born.

And talking of selection boxes – of course, the chocolate season culminates in Christmas. Every chocolate shop in the country, whether on the High Street or online, spends the year gearing up to the time of year when eating chocolate is actually a legal requirement (okay, so it’s not but it should be).

So, it’s still only October, my chocolate fest began in earnest just a couple of weeks ago when I celebrated my **th birthday and will continue right through until 2012.

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