How apropos is it that St. Valentine’s Day falls in the same month that Chocolate Lover’s Month is celebrated? Does chocolate really make you feel good? Is chocolate an aphrodisiac? Are there studies identifying certain chemicals and compounds found in chocolate that makes it beneficial for your health?
Chocolate, especially during the month of February is recognized and closely associated with sentiments of love. During the month of December, this ingredient is used a lot in holiday deserts and dishes. Any other time throughout the year, chocolate will satisfy those sweet, decadent cravings. The humble beginnings of this sugary delight is birthed from the cocoa or cacao beans. Chocolate is a chocoholic’s dream, while chocolatier’s enjoy concocting confectionary treats from this delicate ingredient. Its topic streams across an evolution of interests and discussions among foodies, writers, historians and even those in the medical field.
Why do we find chocolate so deliciously seductive and fascinating?
· Studies indicate that there are health benefits from flavonoids or antioxidants found in chocolate. Dark chocolate is reportedly good for the heart.
· Chocolate is recognized as the chosen sweet treat that represents Valentine’s Day.
· Chocolate recipes are gaining popularity in food magazines, cookbooks and cooking contests.
· Historians are captivated by the evolution of chocolate. They document the process from the bitterness of the cocoa bean transformed into a sweet, melt in your mouth sensation. There are three varieties of cocoa and the regions where they are produced affect how it is used in various recipes.
· Writers compose poems, articles and blogs about it.
· Different types of chocolate (Semi-sweet, dark, white, milk, unsweetened and bitter) gives chocolatiers versatility in how they are prepared and consumed.
· The winter months are the ideal time to enjoy a nice hot cup of hot chocolate or hot cocoa.
· The presentation of expensive, gourmet chocolate is savored differently from the candy found near the checkout counters in supermarkets.
· The texture and taste of white chocolate is different from brown chocolate. Different palettes prefer one over the other, or both.
· Chocolate is used to garnish fruits, vegetables and other desserts for any meal or special occasion.
Regardless of the time of the year or holiday, chocolate has a way of changing our moods, delighting our senses and satisfying our palettes, regardless of what form it is served in. There are many opportunities for expressing, enjoying and writing about the poetry of chocolate during National Chocolate Lovers Month. Pick a topic, dive in and enjoy!