Choc a block
Now it turns out that not only must we bear with melting glaciers, shrinking ice caps and diminishing fossil fuels, but we have to also worry about a 'chocolate drought'. Political unrest in Ivory Coast, the West African nation that produces half the world's cocoa beans, is being blamed for the decline in the supply of sustainable cocoa. So as the Nestlés and Cadburys, the Ferreros and Callebauts roll up their sleeves to wrest control of the remaining stock of raw material, is it merely some high-calorie slabs of sinful indulgence we are about to lose out on?
The ancient Aztecs would have disagreed. So valued were the restorative properties of a cacao-based beverage among the Aztecs, that only warriors, the nobility and priests were allowed to drink it. Casanova's success between the sheets, it is rumoured, owed much to the aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate.
For most of us, chocolate is the mirror that reflects our journey through life, from the innocent wonder of milk chocolates to the sensuous attractions of its intricate, darker variety. If those Epicurean delights indeed disappear from the supermarket shelves by 2014, parents will need new devices to win over petulant, sulky children while lovers will find the business of wooing severely impaired. Politics is a tough taskmaster, but the demise of chocolate seems too high a price to exact for removing dictatorships.