I like chocolate. No, let me correct that. I LOVE CHOCOLATE!!! Glancing at the typical food pyramid, one of the missing food groups is chocolate; the other is pizza.
Cacao, by itself, is bitter, but the addition of fats, sweeteners and flavorings develop it into chocolate. Eaten, in moderation of course, cacao is good for the heart. The beans are full of phytonutrients which act as antioxidants, and are rich sources of iron, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.
Chocolate as brain food? In 2016, a study on Alzheimer’s patients was performed. A group of 400 were given slight, moderate or large amounts of a chocolate snack, weekly. Those of the moderate group saw a 40% decline in the illness, as opposed to the other groups. (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease: https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad160142)
Mood elevation? Personally speaking, if I am feeling a bit blue, sad, angry, or frustrated; I reach for a mini, maybe even a fun size, bar of one of my favorites. Opening the wrapper, letting the smooth chocolate melt on the tongue, and the sigh of contentment comes. It is not just a feel good time in the mouth, but it is an overall feel good. Now, can one get high eating chocolate?
Chocolate contains substances that stimulate a euphoric mood in the brain, just as cannabis does. Anandamides, and substances that have similar effects as amphetamine, such as tyramine and phenylethylamine, lift up our mood, but calms it as well. To get a high though would require consuming 20 pounds of dark chocolate!
If anyone is truly interested in chocolate’s history, types and production of popular brands, I recommend reading Chocolate Facts, Effects & History, by Jessie Szalay (Live Science, March 27, 2018: https://www.livescience.com/61754-chocolate-facts.html)
For occasions like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special moment, boxes, or filled gift baskets, come with an assortment of fine chocolates. The popular brands often advertised are Lindt, Ghirardelli, Godiva, and even Cadbury (some American candies are copies of these British confections). Which got me to thinking about, “What does Utah have to offer in the chocolate department?”
Search, Purchase, Sample, Review.
In Monticello, I was able to find, at Blue Mountain Foods, Utah Truffles (https://utahtruffles.com/), each bar costing a reasonable price of $1.29. Flavors available are Chocolate, Mint and Toffee; ordering from the company itself though will offer more variety. 100% gluten free, using all natural ingredients, the truffles are covered in a smooth chocolate.
The center is creamy, with the flavor coming through, slight at first, and intensifying with every little bite. This is a truffle bar that is not to be gobbled, but eaten nibble by nibble to have an ultimate chocolate experience.
Available at the San Juan Record are Sweet’s Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears (https://www.sweetcandy.com/), $3.49 for a ½ lb., $6.99 for a full pound. Cinnamon Bears, in themselves, have a moderate bite to the tongue from the cinnamon spice. Covering them in chocolate gives a whole new heightened experience; sweet with the heat! These are not the typical tiny gummy bears, where you need a whole handful before feeling satisfied. Oh no, Sweet’s bears are one inch in height. Getting frustrated with the family, coworkers, even customers? Take a moment, breathe, chew on one of these tasty bears; and you are now in your Zen zone.
Needing some ideas for stocking stuffers this year? Consider trying Utah’s own chocolate confections. I do not believe you will be disappointed.
So, Dear Santa,
While I admit I could have been better this year…oh who are we kidding? Santa, I want chocolate. Thank you, and maybe next year I will do better. *snicker* Yeah, like that will ever happen.