Paris Chocolate Show a sweet way to forget crunch

Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:00am EDT
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By Sybille de La Hamaide

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - Just like President Nicolas Sakozy and Economy Minister Christine Lagarde who admit to having a soft spot for it, French people seek pleasure in chocolate and many women say it's better than sex.

"If there is something we won't do without, it's chocolate," Sophie Dupondt, a self-admitted chocolate aficionado, said while visiting the Salon du Chocolat (Chocolate Show) taking place in Paris this week.

"It's good, relaxing and we need it these days!," Annie Turbaud, a grandmother said, referring to the ongoing financial crisis that has knocked French consumer morale to record lows.

Production and consumption have risen consistently over the last few years in France. The country's chocolate market rose eight percent alone last year to 2.7 billion euros ($3.44 billion), producing more than 360,000 tonnes of the cocoa-based delight in 2007.

Studies show that a vast majority of people see chocolate -- mainly produced by international giants such as Swiss-based Nestle, Britain's Cadbury or U.S. Kraft Foods -- as one of their most regular sources of pleasure.

Nearly 90 percent of people polled in August for the "Salon du Chocolat" and French newspaper Le Figaro said chocolate had a positive impact on their spirits.

Among women, 36 percent considered chocolate as comforting and 41 percent said it brought them more pleasure than sex.

PLEASURE   Continued...

<p>French TV host Anne-Gaelle Riccio presents a creation by Ozlem Suer and Bonnat Chocolatier at the 14th Salon du Chocolat (Paris Chocolate Show) in Paris, October 28, 2008. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>