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CHOC HORROR! It may look like a sprout - but there's a sweet surprise in store for the veg haters.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter mike.lockley@trinitymirror.com

CHRISTMAS' most hated vegetable at last has something to sprout about - after being given a chocolate makeover. It's a boiled move, but one Midlands firm has already unveiled its new line in chocolate Brussels sprouts.

Not surprisingly, the chocolate has to be Belgian.

Find Me A Gift, based in the Warwickshire village of Southam, is flogging the choc crop for PS9.99 a box. It sounds like a choccy horror show, but the company has really pushed the gravy boat out.

The faux veg looks exactly like the real thing. The only difference is that kids will be begging for these Brussels.

Yes, the veg that has divided the nation for decades has been given a seasonal popularity boost.

Spokeswoman Faye Herrington says: "Watch your loved one's face change from an expression of disgust to delight as they realise that rather than being presented with a punnet of sprouts, they've actually got eight scrumptious white chocolates to enjoy on Christmas afternoon.

"We've transformed this muchhated vegetable into a real crowdpleaser by crafting them out of creamy white chocolate. They're sprouts, but not as you know it."

What next, treacle turnips? Or are parsnips going to get the marzipan treatment? Find Me A Gift hopes its confectionery will win children over to the joy - and health benefits - of real sprouts, which contain high levels of Vitamins A and C, folic acid and dietary fibre.

It may be at the bottom of the vegetable hit parade, but there are plenty of fans out there. The sprout industry is worth a staggering PS650 million. Supermarket chain Morrisons, alone, will flog 650 tonnes of Brussels each week in December. Faye admits the chocolate imposters can't match sprouts when it comes to health benefits.

"Our chocolate sprouts have none of the vitamins and over double the calories of their veggie counterparts," she says. "However, we believe Christmas is nothing if not a time to eat to excess. While substituting vegetables for chocolate might be frowned upon throughout the rest of the year, during the festive season this sort of indulgence is positively encouraged. "And our sprouts are suitable for vegetarians and they're glutenfree."

It's sure to be the season's strangest sweet treat, but a national advertising slogan may prove problematic.

"All because the lady loves... sprouts" lacks a certain something.

SPROUT OF ORDER 1. In 2015, a team of scientists used the energy from 1,000 sprouts to light a Christmas tree on London's South Bank 2. Stuart Kettell, 49, last year rolled a Brussels sprout to the top of Snowdon using only his nose. Money raised went to Macmillan Cancer 3. The heaviest sprout was grown in 1992 - and weighed a staggering 18lbs 3oz.

4. Swede Linus Urbanec holds the world sprout-eating record after wolfing down 31 in a minute on November 26, 2008.

5, Former PM Gordon Brown and TV's Esther Rantzen are sprout fans. Esther attempted to break the world Brussels eating record, but was stumped after five.

CAPTION(S):

| Faye Herrington from Find Me A Gift in Southam tries out their latest treat - a white Belgium chocolate sprout

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUBL
Date:Oct 1, 2017
Words:526
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