With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, I was thinking about how we might “share the yum (and love)” to include everyone, not just children and those in romantic relationships. Don’t most of us love chocolate in some form? I indulge only for the health benefits. (yeah, right!)
So for today, here are some health benefits, some ideas for more inclusive Valentine’s Day celebrations, some chocolate fun facts and a few of my favorite local chocolate companies!
Proven reasons Chocolate, especially Dark Chocolate, is good for everyone!
- Is a powerful source of antioxidants
- Is very nutritious
- May improve blood flow and decrease blood pressure
- Raises HDL and protects LDL against oxidation
- May lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
- May protect your skin against the sun
- May improve your brain function
I’ve also read that chocolate milk is a wonderful post-workout recovery drink! Fat-free chocolate milk beat out carbohydrate sports drinks at helping to rebuild and refuel muscles after exercise, researchers report. The combination of carbohydrates and protein in low-fat chocolate milk appears to be “just right” for refueling weary muscles, according to WebMD.
How about including your single friends this year in your Valentine’s Day celebration?
Some ideas might be to:
- Host a chocolate fondue party for friends of all ages
- Make and gift your favorite friends with a decadent chocolate salt scrub. Click here for the recipe.
(More recipes are listed on my How To Page!)
- Find a new favorite place near where you live for a night of wine and dessert
- Make up your favorite batch of brownies and drop them at a nursing home
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen and take some chocolate goodies to share
Chocolate FUN FACTS!
- Ben Franklin sold chocolate in his print shop in Philadelphia, PA.
- Best wine pairings — Bubbles are best with white chocolate; reds are best with dark chocolate.
- German chocolate cake is not named for Germany but for Sam German, who developed a sweet bar for Baker’s Chocolate.
- The Aztecs and Mayans used Cacao Beans as currency.
- Chocolate has more than 600 flavor compounds, while red wine has 200.
- Chocolate was consumed as a liquid, not a solid, for 90 percent of its history.
- The Aztec emperor Montezuma II drank more than 50 cups of chocolate every day!
- The chocolate industry is worth approximately $110 billion per year.
- Milky Way candy bars are not named after the galaxy. The name is from the flavored malted milkshakes they were trying to mimic.
- In 1947, hundreds of Canadian kids went on strike and boycotted chocolate after the price of a chocolate bar jumped from 5 to 8 cents.
- A 2004 study in London found that 70 percent of people would reveal their passwords in exchange for a chocolate bar.
- The Brussels Airport is the biggest chocolate seller in the world, as vendors there sell more than 800 tons of chocolate annually.
- In 2013, Belgium issued a limited edition of Chocolate-flavored stamps.
- Chocolate comes from a fruit tree; it’s made from a seed.
My husband Mike and I love finding new artisan chocolate shops every time we travel. Right here in Colorado there are four companies that we have discovered since moving to Denver.
Some of my favorites are:
www.chocolove.com A company with strong sustainability and social responsibility protocols.
www.ritualchocolate.com A company involved with the entire chocolate making process to ensure that their values for the highest achievable quality are present every step of the way, including traceability of ingredients, environmentally and socially responsible farming practices.
www.thechocolatetherapist.com This charming shop offers delicious selections, created with all-natural chocolate and clean ingredients with no dyes, preservatives or artificial ingredients. They also use fresh spices and locally roasted nuts, dried berries and organic flavoring oils to create their unique products.
www.gooddaychocolate.com These chocolates are all natural, non-GMO, and gluten-free pharmaceutical grade nutraceuticals (foods containing health-giving additives with medicinal benefits) mixed with premium dark and milk chocolate combinations so you get a natural and easily controllable treat. They offer responsible serving sizes so you know just how much you’re getting. Unlike other candy-coatings (even the natural ones), they add nothing but organic non-GMO sugar, a little tapioca flour, and fruit and vegetable concentrates for color. We also love the packing-these little limited-edition, portable boxes. They look like little gumdrops.
Before I close, please remember three things this Valentine’s Day:
- Our pets may love chocolate, but chocolate is toxic to our pets so keep them safe.
- Imbibe responsibly
- “Love is love” — No one should be left out of the day’s celebrations
Peace, Health and Love to all!
National Confectioners Associations’ Chocolate Council
The FW: 10 Strange Facts About Chocolate (Carl Pettit)