It’s three o’clock and I am working at my computer. I hear a soft voice calling, “chocolate.” A little louder it repeats itself, “choooocolaaaaate.” No, go away I say, I’m trying to be good. “But chocolate is good,” the voice whispers musically. It proves too much to resist. I give in and find that dark chunk of temptation, break off a piece and take an intoxicating bite. Ummm, I say to myself with one eyebrow raised, Should I feel guilty now?
To shed a little light, let’s look to our experts. One unrivaled authority I offer is Katherine Hepburn. Later in life when she was asked to comment on her lovely, well-maintained “girlish” figure she replied, “What you see before you is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” If the sublime Katherine is not enough to convince you, then how about some research studies and scientific experts? For example the Mayo Clinic tells us that the benefits of the cacao bean stem from its phyto-chemical content, “Chocolate and its main ingredient, cocoa, appear to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Flavanols in cocoa beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Flavanols — which are more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate – also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. In addition, some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack.”
“It’s the anti-inflammatory properties of darker chocolate that really give our bodies the big benefit. Just like white wine versus red, darker color means higher anti-inflammatory effect.”
It’s the anti-inflammatory properties of darker chocolate that really give our bodies the big benefit. Just like white wine versus red, darker color means higher anti-inflammatory effect. The British Medical Journal tells us that “Based on observational evidence, levels of chocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders.” Also important, they say, is that “these protective effects have only been shown for dark chocolate (at least 60-70% cocoa), rather than for milk or white chocolate, probably due to the higher levels of flavonoids found in dark chocolate. Nevertheless, they conclude that the blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering effects of plain dark chocolate could represent an effective and cost effective strategy for people with metabolic syndrome (and no diabetes).” It’s as if they are saying, take your medicine, eat chocolate! (I feel my pangs of guilt subsiding.)
So to benefit your health, try Chef Jeremy’s prescription to make home chocolate elixir taste delicious in Keep Your Temper Down: How to Become a Chocolatier in Three Easy Steps. Also, we are very excited to welcome our new Head of Pastry for all Salty’s restaurants Chef Doug Taylor — I hear him calling you “Choooocolaaaate”! Here’s his recipe for Crispy Chocolate Bark to make at home, just in time for Valentine’s Day.