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The succinct approach to these concepts and general mechanisms in perspectives that come more specifically from the human sciences is essential here. When stress is increasingly placed on information emerging from the exact sciences or from strictly normal or pathological medical approaches, it makes it possible to draw attention to other equally important facets. Today one can no longer ignore the importance of opinions, attitudes and perceptions in determining dietary behaviour.

Neither can one ignore the place of emotional and hedonic aspects, both in making decisions and in the motivation of our behaviour in general, and dietary behaviour in particular (29).

Now, to come back to chocolate, a product which has 'succeeded' in the West particularly because of its encounter with sugar. It is this association which has made it acceptable in a large number of cultures in as much as it sweetens the initial bitterness of the cocoa, by adding to it a sugary note. From an organoleptic point of view, chocolate also benefits from another intrinsic quality: the presence of fat. In fact, the association of fat and sugar easily confers on it qualities of texture which flatter the palate and make it a desirable product. This has been demonstrated by studies that have yielded a better understanding of the nature of the lubrication, which is so desirable in certain products (30). It is also true that manufacturing procedures, conching in particular, have considerably refined the grain of the product and its texture in the mouth.

Chocolate is also, and has long been, a product that is 'good to think about'. Good, first of all, because of its real or supposed properties, its virtually medicinal beneficial effects, its hidden virtues. The association with other products, also 'good to think about', such as milk, further strengthens these attitudes; because of this it has become a product which can and is widely recommended for children. But chocolate is a good product also simply because of the hedonic aspects, the sensory pleasure produced by eating it. Gifts of and eating of chocolate rapidly came to be associated with pleasant situations or events: birthdays, weddings, customs related to religious feasts, gifts made to children and adults, even more ambiguously (because of its aphrodisiac properties) gifts between lovers.

However, the virtually universal acceptance of chocolate should not allow one to forget that there are differences between one country and another. They are more particularly the results of culinary markers or local cultural features. The association of mint with chocolate is typically British. In Belgium, chocolate in the form of soft-centre sweets (pralines) is consumed more than elsewhere, with more fat and more sugar than in France, for example. In the latter country, although in market terms a lot of milk chocolate is consumed quantitatively, its taste is different from that of Swiss milk chocolate. Furthermore, in France for the past 25 years an increasingly marked liking for dark chocolate or bitter chocolate, which contains a higher proportion of cocoa, has been observed. This trend is interesting because it illustrates directly how a norm socially valued by an élite is spread and accepted in society. This list is not exhaustive and the pro

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