Chocolate: A Love Affair By Lisa Turner Every great love affair has its common elements.
It’s intense yet sweet, exciting yet comforting, passionate and yearning. Sometimes, it’s bittersweet; sometimes, exotic and mysterious. Other times, it’s so filled with desire, it borders on obsession. And so it is with chocolate; our favorite sweet has all the makings of a passionate affair. Why do we love chocolate? Maybe it's the smooth, velvety way it slides across the tongue and arouses the senses. Maybe it's because cocoa is married to sugar and fat, our other true loves. Or maybe, like love, it does something to the brain: eating cocoa actually boosts th brain’s production of serotonin, the 'feel-good' neurotransmitter, and chocolate contains phenylethylamine, the same brain chemical that occurs in higher concentrations when you're in love. Ultimately, though, like any good affair, a relationship with chocolate should leave you feeling fulfilled, not guilty. Cheap chocolate (think Mars bars) is sometimes grown and harvested in ways that exploit farm workers, damage the environment and endanger children. That’s just not happy or sexy. The question then becomes “Are organic or fair trade chocolates as satisfying as gourmet bars?” The answer for us, happily, is yes. Because of growing awareness of deplorable working conditions and damaging environmental practices, organic and Fair Trade chocolates have been elevated the lofty strata of
(Milk chocolate is typically sweeter and less intense than dark chocolate. Nirvana Organic Dark Chocolate with Pomegranate. but it’s fun to eat candy that’s as good for you as cauliflower. the darker the better. Equal Exchange Mint Chocolate. you’ll lose some of the sweetness. especially those bars that kept their flavors subtle and their crunchy additions finely ground. Organic Seed & Bean
. Generally.gourmet confections. some of these categories and luscious selections follow. I’m not a fan of flavored chocolates. wine and blueberries. Read on--this is one love affair that has a happy ending. Theo Ivory Coast Dark Chocolate Bar 75%. Superior selections: 3400 Phinney Street Chocolate Factory Organic Coconut Curry. gooey fillings or extraneous ingredients that otherwise adulterate the smoothness and divert attention from the flavor of the cocoa bean. Superior selections: Theo Ghana Dark Chocolate Bar 84%. and cocoa is the magic stuff. Sometimes. it’s rich in polyphenols. Dark chocolate has the highest cocoa content. Dark chocolate bars. but much lower in polyphenols. If you’re in the chocolate relationship for the health benefits. the same potent antioxidants found in green tea.) Chose bars with 65 percent or higher cocoa content. I like my chocolate unsullied. Green & Black’s Organic Dark 70% Flavored chocolate. or those with nuts. But I found some exceptions to this rule. a little variety is fun. no matter how intense or devoted your relationship. Equal Exchange Very Dark 71%.
nutmeg and black pepper. just like any good affair. Two that made me swoon: Theo’s 12-piece collection. a cup of extraordinary hot chocolate may be all the company you’ll need. decorated with a vanilla bean. The wrapping on the bar—kraft paper emblazoned with blotchy type reminiscent of an old manual typewriter and tied with a twist of jute from cocoa bean shipping bags—makes a single bar a mysterious and exotic gift in itself. a stunning assortment of beautifully crafted chocolates with such selections as lemon cream in dark chocolate garnished with white and dark chocolate stripes. Superior selections: Equal Exchange Organic Hot Cocoa. None of these selections are Dutched—a process commonly used to remove acidity. Cocoa powder. These chocolates are intended for gift giving—an essential part of a love affair. it also removes many flavonoids from the cocoa powder.Company Rose 72%. Other superior selections: Green & Black’s
. Gift boxes. unfortunately. and Askinose dark chocolate bars--one 75% Soconusco Dark Chocolate Bar and one 70% Del Tambo Dark Chocolate Bar--packaged in a sustainably harvested Russian Birchwood box. Green & BlacK’s Organic Maya Gold Hot Chocolate with orange peel. For those nights when you’d really just rather be alone. dark cocoa powder. any hot chocolate recipe will be made better by using fine. In those cases. and Madagascar vanilla cream in dark chocolate. Others contain a bit of spice. Or buy them for a special dessert a deux.
S.000 are victims of human trafficking or enslavement.Maya Gold Squares. children (who should be going to school and playing games) work grueling hours using dangerous tools. where rock-bottom cocoa prices and slave wages force severely impoverished farmers to employ children as a means of survival. those who labor as slaves suffer beatings and other cruel treatment. [BOX] Playing Fair with Chocolate: The deal on Fair Trade Okay. it’s not necessary. fair labor conditions including minimum health and safety conditions and environmental sustainability. The U. so you don’t have to
.000 children in the cocoa industry work under “the worst forms of child labor. here’s the deal: almost half of the world’s cocoa comes from Ivory Coast cocoa farms. The deal is. artisan chocolates bearing the Fair Trade Certified logo.” and that some 10. Department of State estimates that more than 100. You can boycott chocolate that’s manufactured using child labor and slave trade. Oxfam Grand Marnier Truffles. On these farms. and stick to a huge variety of high quality. The logo is administered by TransFair USA. A growing number of smaller. artisan chocolate makers are sticking to Fair Trade cocoa. Nirvana Organic Chocolates 1-pound assortment. an independent certified of Fair Trade products—those that follow such fair and equitable practices as fair market prices for products.
. Now that’s a good deal.choose between ethics and amazing chocolate.