Are you “in love with da cocoa”? Maybe you should try snorting it! Vv Magazine’s West Coast Editor Alexandra Gill investigates the recent snorting chocolate trend…
Forget the bunnies. Skip the cream eggs. If you’re looking for a novel chocolate confection this Easter, consider giving snorting cacao powder a sniff.
The badass confection was created seven years ago by Belgian chocolatier Dominique Persoone, when he was asked to cater a birthday party for The Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. A culinary innovator with a history of collaborating with such celebrated chefs as The Fat Duck’s Heston Blumenthal and el Bulli’s Ferran Adria, Persoone began experimenting with different cacao mixes and his grandfather’s old snuff machine.
After ruling out chilli powder as a cut (it didn’t hurt so good), he came up with a plastic catapult that cleanly shoots two bumps of premium Peruvian cacao powder mixed with finely ground mint and ginger (or raspberry) straight up the nostrils.
While we can only imagine how Keith Richards reacted to the chocolate Charlie (how can it even compare to snorting the cremated remains of Dear Ol’ Dad…?!?), the sniffing powder has since garnered a quiet cult following outside the rock ‘n’ roll scene.
Persoone says he has he sold at least 25,000 gift sets (which include a catapult and two types of powder). Late last year, a legendary Vancouverite became the first retailer to sell them in North America.
Mary Jean Dunsdon (a.k.a. Watermelon) is one of the world’s leading marijuana activists. In addition to being the host of a pioneering cooking show (Baking A Fool of Myself), the self-proclaimed “high priestess of pot” is a well-known pin-up model (her Jungle Mary Jane and Cleopotra portraits are collector’s items), successful stand-up comic, and owner of the Licorice Parlour on Commercial Drive.
So when Watermelon travelled to Europe last year and discovered chocolate snorting powder for herself, it was no-brainer addition to her licorice shop. Well, duh!
She sells the powder in full-size kits for $109.00 (two tins plus a catapult) or $2.00 a snort. We tried it just before Christmas, but then stupidly sat on the story not realizing it was about to go viral. Double d’oh!
“Everyone likes chocolate,” she said. “And they really love snorting it.”
What’s not to love? Whether eaten or snorted, chocolate releases the same dopamine chemical-release high. It’s a calorie-free indulgence. And the residue apparently drips down the back of the throat for hours, giving you a far longer tasting experience.
Watermelon says that some of her customers find the powder highly stimulating. There is one woman who comes in regularly for a snort before yoga class. Another gentleman snorts to alleviate his migraines.
Naturally, there are detractors. Watermelon recalls one woman, worried about the potential drug-glamourizing effect on youngsters, came in screaming, “What about the children?”
“What about them?” she retorted. “People give children all sorts of high-fructose candy loaded with corn syrup and food dye. This is super, high-end refined cacao powder with no preservatives.”
But is it safe to snort? Dr. Jordan Josephson, an ear, nose, throat, and sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, believes it is not. “Snorting chocolate powder is not safe, because the powder is perceived by the nose as a foreign toxic substance,” he said in a quote widely cited in the media. “The powder can damage the microscopic hairs, or cilia, and membranes of the nose, causing problems with their ability to work correctly.”
Yes, but so does pollen. And that hasn’t stopped Mother Nature from messing with our nostrils every year during allergy season. Could these effects be any worse? We decided to snort a line — all in the name of journalism, of course.
“On the count of three, I’m going to release the catapult,” Watermelon explained, placing the plastic contraption under our nostrils. “But you also need to go like this,” she added, sniffing deeply to demonstrate. “And you don’t have to lean into it. Stand straight up.”
“One… two… three…” Click!
Blah. The powder leaves a brown trail on the infranasal depression. It taste like mint. The ginger takes a few more seconds to register. It doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t taste orgasmic or feel the least bit stimulating. Mind you, we had spent the morning at a bean-to-bar chocolate factory and were probably already high on the stuff.
Hours later, we could indeed still taste it dripping down the throat — not a bad bang for two bucks. But the next morning, our nostrils were still caked with sticky cocoa residue and we had to pull out the neti pot.
It’s a quirky novelty, which is really all it was ever meant to be. But really, what will they think of next?
“Come back next week,” Watermelon joked. “We’ll be mainlining chocolate syrup.”
Would you ever consider snorting chocolate? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.