By Yves Herman
LONZEE, Belgium (Reuters) - A Belgian chocolate company that put white masks on its Easter bunnies a year ago is now producing large chocolate syringes as it tries to keep step with the evolving trend of the coronavirus pandemic.
And as Belgium steps up its vaccination campaign against COVID-19, specialist confectioner Cocoatree is also touting the natural health benefits of chocolate as a kind of "vaccine" in its own right against certain conditions.
"It's a symbol of hope and that's why I decided to create the (chocolate) vaccine," said company founder Genevieve Trepant.
Cocoatree, based in Lonzee, a village about 45 kilometres (30 miles) south of Brussels, has dubbed its chocolate syringes "L'Atch'a Azteka", a combination of the sound of a sneeze and ancient chocolate consumers, the Aztecs.
"A chocolate vaccine has a huge number of positive effects," Trepant added. "It's an anti-depressant. It has magnesium. Chocolate has many advantages, as people know, and above all it boosts the morale of the troops."
(Reporting by Yves Herman, writing by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Gareth Jones)