Another Chocolate Day!

By: DeDe Hausmann

Yep there’s actually 3 days/year to celebrate CHOCOLATE!!!  Best news I’ve heard in a long time.  We raise our hands and voices for CHOCOLATE DAY on July 7th and we can chomp down on chocolate again on September 4th for WORLD CHOCOLATE DAY!  Last but not least on October 28th we can celebrate the US NATIONAL CHOCOLATE DAY.  Anybody complaining?!  Not me.  I plan to party-hearty all 3 days!

I take chocolate for granted, don’t you?   But we should know where our chocolate comes from.  I researched and found out that chocolate comes from the seed of the Theobroma cacao tree (knew it was from a cacao tree but I guess it’s important to know what particular tree it comes from).  The seeds actually have a bitter taste if eaten right off the tree so they are fermented and this helps develop the chocolate taste we all love in all kinds of decadent sweets.  And did you know there are some main dish recipes that call for the addition of chocolate such as in chili, etc.?

The chocolates we purchase today are a product of cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fats, and sugar.  Simple but ohhhh so good!!!  If you love milk chocolate, it also contains milk powder or condensed milk.  What’s white chocolate?   It contains cocoa butter, sugar and milk without cocoa solids.

OK, we need to talk about nutrition and chocolate, right?! The non-fat part of cocoa beans contain polyphenols that have antioxidant properties==beneficial to our health.  It is said that the polyphenols reduce the body’s ability to clot and so help reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks!  And cocoa beans contain a large number of essential nutrients, as in magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and manganese.  As for caffeine, cocoa beans contain a very small amount so that’s great. This nutrition info should make all chocolate lovers feel better, right?

What it boils down to is that if possible we need to consume dark chocolate or cocoa if we want the most health benefits for chocolate.  I’m working hard to learn to like dark chocolate because of this.  But because of the additional calories associated with ingredients to make the cocoa products more palatable, remember to enjoy chocolate in moderation.  And enjoy it with a big glass of icy cold low-fat or fat-free milk.  You’re getting 9 essential nutrients so that makes that chocolate seem healthier.  Got milk and Got chocolate—what a great combination!

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