BY: DANIEL KORN
I probably eat chocolate every day. Not a whole bar – that’s a recipe for fitness disaster – but certainly a couple squares after dinner. Enough to get the taste in my mouth, but not enough for it to negate the workout I’ve done earlier in the day.
But these small transgressions build up, and within a week I probably eat about 400 empty calories that I don’t need. As I attempt to uphold my New Year’s resolution, I’m starting to realize that I’m probably going to have to cut it out.
Luckily, thanks to innovations by a particularly adventurous Belgian, it might not be so bad. In 2009, gourmet chocolatier Dominique Persoon of The Chocolate Line invented the first “Chocolate Shooter” for the birthday party of – wait for it – Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones. The contraption is basically a clear mini-catapult, with two spoons that can be adjusted to fit the space between nostrils. You fill each spoon with cocoa powder – Persoon’s own concoction is also infused with ginger and mint – count to 3, and press a button that launches the powder into your nose while simultaneously inhaling. Hard.
Mary Jean Dunsdon, owner of The Licorice Parlour in Vancouver – currently the only candy shop that sells the shooter kit in North America, as well as offering $2 “hits” in-store – theorizes that snorting chocolate lets you feel the effects of eating it without the caloric intake. No one’s tested the science of it yet, but studies have found that the brain responds to the consumption of chocolate by releasing dopamine, one of the hormones responsible for feeling pleasure. Considering that about 60 percent of how taste functions is dictated by smell, Dunsdon’s theory is not particularly farfetched.
The taste of the chocolate stays present for about 15 minutes after which it wears off.
While it may seem odd to have chocolate going, as Persoon says in his video demonstrating the shooter, “straight to the brain”, no particular health risks have been found. Regardless, inhaling substances regularly through the naval cavity carries with it the risk of contracting sinus infections, so it’s recommended that, even with something as benign as cocoa powder, one only snorts moderately.
Kits can be bought locally in Vancouver for $109 CAD, or shipped from The Chocolate Line themselves for about $120. It’s a bit steep for what is essentially a novelty party item, but it’s certainly interesting; if you’re the sort of person who’s interested in experimenting with your body, get that cocoa in your nose and let us know how it goes.