Thursday 20 June 2019

High on chocolate: Snorting cocoa is actually a thing

Dominique Persoone
Dominique Persoone

Freya Drohan

Snorting chocolate is the latest food fad that has fans hooked - but is it safe?

Developed by world renowned chocolatier Dominique Persoone, fans say it is a way to indulge in the sweet treat without ingesting the calories.

Persoone, known for his innovations and hip chocolaterie in Antwerp, developed the ‘Chocolate Shooter' in 2008 for the birthday party of The Rolling Stones rocker Ronnie Wood.

Instead of eating chocolate as a dessert, guests were encouraged to snort it through the apparatus - and it seems he was on to a winner.

Dominique Persoone
Dominique Persoone

Persoone has since kick started the trend for inhaling cocoa via the nose, and over 25,000 of his Chocolate Shooters have now been sold world wide.

“The nose picks up both odors and tastes,” Persoone states. “Recent research has shown how important our nose is to us when tasting food. Hence the idea of allowing it to enjoy a chocolate tasting event or dessert. Sniffing cocoa with raspberry or ginger and mint will help enhance the pleasure of the chocolate experience.”

To use the device, consumers must, “Fill the two spoons with powder. Smooth over. Adjust the opening between the spoons to the width of the nose. Tighten the shooter. Place the spoons under the nose. Sniff and shoot.”

Vancouver woman Mary Jean Dunsdon, proprietor of the 'Licorice Parlour', has introduced Canadians to the phenomenon.

“You kind of experience chocolate for a couple hours very subtly — without the caloric intake. It hits all the same pleasure receptors in the brain as if you were eating it,” she reveals.

Since November, Mary has been selling individual ‘cocoa raspberry’ or ‘cocoa ginger’ sniffs for $2 (€1.70) each, or enthusiasts can purchase the entire kit for $109 (€92.50). Approximately sixty brave customers have tried the thrill in her store on Commercial Drive.

The Chocolate Shooter device
The Chocolate Shooter device

She says that only about an eighth of a teaspoon goes into each snort, and that "you don't want to do that much.”

The burning question remains - is it safe?

“Before actual commercialisation of the shooter, we contacted several medical professionals and there seems to be no danger, but one has to care if used frequently,” Pascal Pardo, Management Assistant at The Chocolate Line said.

Some health authorities and medical professionals believe that while it is still “unknown territory” it is most likely a fad and will therefore not present long term damage.

"Snorting will, I'm sure, irritate the nasal passages and I can't see people persevering the practice long enough for them to get into long-term trouble, so it may be a problem with its own solution built in," states Dr Daniel Rutherford.

Dr Rutherford also warns that he would be "concerned if over-enthusiastic snorters inhale finely ground chocolate powder into their lungs as this will be very likely to cause damage."


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