Tuesday, September 20, 2011

0067: Dark Chocolate

This morning's choice: Nestle Dark Chocolate Hot Chocolate -
of course made with 2% milk and a touch of Bailey's Irish Cream Creamer
(non-alcoholic, it's a morning drink ;-)
Chocolate, one of my favorite things - I know, I have a ton of favorite things but is there really any limit to the number of things you can love!!!

I am a certified chocoholic (well, foodie in general, that's why I workout hard :-) so, in my pantry:

  • Nutella (what a gift from the universe!!). Whether I make a peanut butter and nutella sandwich or a nutella and banana panini - YUM!!!! I wish I could make crepes but oh well...
  • Hot chocolate (some of my favorites are MarieBelle Aztec hot chocolate, Godiva dark hot chocolate, Ghirardelli Double Chocolate and Nestle Abuelita Mexican Style hot chocolate...).
  • DOVE chocolates (favs are the dark chocolate in red wrappers and the dark chocolate with almonds in the purple wrappers - and I just love the little sweet saying inside each wrapper). 
  • Ferraro Rondnoir dark chocolates - OMG!!! they are like mini brownies.... AMAZING....
  • Chocolate ice cream (Breyers or Edy's slow churned are great!!). 
  • Brownie mixes (I don't really cook from scratch much... but love the Ghirardelli mixes). 
  • Godiva chocolate candle (for when I have to be good, it's the next best thing :-)
The good thing I guess is that I really prefer dark chocolate which of course has its benefits:
  • "They" say that chocolate contains a host of heart-healthy and mood-enhancing phytochemicals, with benefits to both body and mind. (Note: milk chocolate contains added butterfat, which can raise blood cholesterol levels, it has less antioxidants and other beneficial phytochemicals than dark chocolate. Dark chocolate also has less added sugar and less saturated fat...)
  • Dark chocolate has antioxidants... the same antioxidant properties found in red wine that protect against heart disease are also found in comparable quantities of chocolate. (I often pair up dark chocolate and red wine - just to get all the health benefits!! and how much healthier is that pairing than creme brulee - another favorite of mine but one I have very rarely.)
  • So why the nice mood enhancing effect? Chocolate is the richest known source of a little-know substance called theobromine, a close relative of caffeine. Chocolate also contains other mood elevating substances such as phenethylamine (the very same substance released in the brain when people become infatuated or fall in love - I'd say a distant effect as nothing truly compares to being in love ;-) Theobromine in chocolate is what renders it toxic to some animals like dogs and cats so no chocolate for them...
  • And my caution - all goodies, especially chocolate (and wine) should be consumed in moderation... that's why I always have Dove dark chocolates in my house, I can really just have one and if I have two no biggie...
Conversational Tidbit: 
Chocolate, a food from the Gods as the Aztecs would say, has such a rich history. Cacao has been cultivated for over 3,000 years. In 2007, archaeologists reported finding evidence of the oldest known cultivation and use of cacao at a site in Puerto Escondido, Honduras, dating from about 1,100 to 1,400 B.C. The residues found and the kind of vessel they were found in indicate the initial use of cacao was not simply as a beverage, but the white pulp around the cacao beans was likely used as a course of fermentable sugars for an alcoholic drink. (I must be a direct descendant somehow; I love hot chocolate with Baileys, cheers!!) 

A Mayan chief forbids a person from touching a jar of chocolate.
Looks like an early torture technique to me!!
Photo: Wikipedia
Anyway, enjoy some dark chocolate - no guilt - just enjoy it for what it is and the health benefits can be the bonus side effect!!!

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