MILKY, dark or white - there is a chocolate to suit anyone's palate.

What better way than to indulge your sweet tooth is there than to celebrate National Chocolate week which conveniently runs from Monday (October 13) to next Friday (October 19).

Not exactly chocolate novices, people have been creating delicious edibles and drinkables as far back as 1900 BC.

But it wasn't until the 16th century that this Central and South American drink arrived on European shores - and thus far it has been a hit.

And while the standard supermarket shelf range is satisfying enough these days, it seems a shame to miss the opportunity of trying out different types and experimenting at home.

Chocolate is incredibly versatile as a drink or as food and though it's more common to add things to chocolate - nuts and fruit to ginger and chilli - you can also add chocolate while cooking either sweet or savoury.

Don't just confine chocolate to sweet dishes, but give savoury ones a go too.

Fittingly, as chocolate originates from Central and South America, it probably comes as no surprise that it is at the heart of some of the most common dishes.

Mole, a traditional savoury rich Mexican sauce, is made using a mixture of cocoa powder, spices and broth which are mashed and ground together before being simmered into a thick liquid.

Peter Hutchinson, Greenodd, has beef topside at £9.80/kilo, ideal for braising before shredding and enjoying in tacos with your home-made mole.

They also have packets of two duck breasts at £3.50, which can be enjoyed with your mole or alternatively make a scrumptiously rich sauce with unsweetened chocolate, onion, celery, carrot, raisins and white wine vinegar.

William Peat, Sedbergh, has beef mince at £6.72/kilo. Make a chilli con carne, adding chocolate for a twist, and enjoy alongside rice, sour cream and guacamole.

For something sweet Greenlands Farm Village, Carnforth, has a giant Choc Affair cup cake at £19.95 (450g) with a bow on top - great for a gift.

They also have the perfect after dinner treat with Monty Bojangles intensely chocolatey truffles on special offer at £3.50 (200g) reduced from £3.99.

Ingleton's Country Harvest has a 250g slab of Hasslachers chocolate at £5.50. Break two pieces off, melt in the pan and add water for a warming hot choc drink, or use for baking.

They also have pan au chocolats at 43p each, ready to finish off in the oven at home.

If it is traybakes you're after, Staff of Like Bakery, Kendal, has a range including fondant-like brownies, tiffin with biscuits, walnuts and orange peel and rocky road at £1.80 each.

And if you're feeling healthy(er), Powells Greengrocers, Sedbergh, has the last of the Scottish strawberries at £2.65/lb punnet and Polish blueberries at £1.95 a punnet, and physalis at £1.10 a packet for making mousses or fondants to go alongside.

Or opt for their Valencia oranges at 18p each or new season satsumas at £1.85/kilo to add to a chocolate orange dessert.