The Question is The Answer

Do you ever have questions about chocolate, but were too afraid to ask? Here are some answers to some of those questions:

The Toblerone bar includes: A) Honey, B) Malt extract, C) Molasses, or D) Rum? The answer is A) Honey! This iconic chocolate bar, created by Theodor Tobler in the early 1900’s originally contained milk chocolate, nougat, and honey. Today, this bar is also made with dark chocolate and white chocolate.  Anyway way you buy it, the taste is amazing.

Eating dark chocolate can cause: A) Acne, B) Cavities, C) Migraines, or D) None of the above? The answer is D) None of the above. So true based upon several studies that chocolate cannot be blamed for any of these ill effects. yeah! In fact, the antioxidants contained in chocolate may have healthy benefits. As with everything else you do in life, moderation is the key.

Which of the following is not a classic pairing with dark chocolate: A) Brandy, B) 12-tear old Scotch, C) Port, or D) Chardonnay? The answer is D) Chardonnay. Many people have debated chocolate pairings, none of which include Chardonnay. Most suggestions are aged Scotch, Armagnac or Bourbon, while others include a Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon. Be adventurous and try them all.

On Valentine’s Day (which is coming up!) in Japan, who traditionally gives out the chocolate: A) Women, B) Men, C) Parents, or D) Children? The answer is A) Women! On Valentine’s Day, Japanese women dole out two types of chocolate. This first is giri choco to their bosses and co-workers and the second is honmei choco for their sweethearts. Try it this year and see what happens.

Chocolate is amazing. So not matter where you are or what you are doing take some time to indulge.

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Can Chocolate Be That Good?

Healthy chocolate sounds like a dream come true, but is it really that healthy for you? Chocolate’s reputation is on the rise, as a growing number of studies suggest that it can be a heart-healthy choice.

 

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, found more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate or white chocolate, also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. Believe it or not, some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Remember, everything in moderation.

 

Most commercial chocolate has ingredients that add fat, sugar and calories. Too much can contribute to weight gain, a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Choose dark chocolate with cocoa content of 65 percent or higher. Look at brands that are made from European companies, such as Lindt, where chocolate is the main ingredient. Limit yourself to around 3 ounces (85 grams) a day. However, this amount may add up to 450 calories to your daily intake so you may want to cut calories in other areas or step up the exercise to compensate.

Curbing those sweet cravings with a dose of good chocolate can actually help. Read the ingredient list before purchasing and then sit back and enjoy!

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Chocolate With Cheese

With everything being paired with chocolate why not try some cheese? Chocolate used to be a simple ingredient. The most exotic thing you’d find in it was a bit of fruit or a nut. Changing with the times many chocolatiers are mixing exotic and unusual flavors with their chocolate so why not cheese?

On a certain level it makes sense to mix these two ingredients together. Milk (the basis for cheese) and chocolate are a natural combination. However, the tricky part is what cheese? What chocolate? Can you imagine a bleu cheese with a milk chocolate? It actually works. Here are 5 examples of pairing cheese with chocolate:

1. Dark chocolate with a blue cheese such as Roquefort of St. Albray. Saint Albray is a cheese which comes from the Aquitaine region of France. Invented in 1976, the cheese is similar to Camembert. This  pairing really shows off an unusual and delicious combination with the salty cheese and smooth, rich chocolate.

2. St. André is a triple cream cheese that’s decadently full-flavored. It has a soft buttery texture, tangy edible rind, and tastes like an intense version of Brie. It’s fantastic when enjoyed with any type of melted chocolate. Try fresh strawberries added to the cheese and then matched with a simple bar of chocolate. What a great dessert!

3. Etorki cheese is made from pasteurized sheep’s milk  and pulp pressed, not cooked, then matured for seven weeks. For those allergic to cow’s milk, Etorki can be substituted for Gouda or Cheddar. Any type of berry is delicious with Etorki cheese, which also can be melted into a dessert dip. Chocolate sauce can be dripped onto the cheese itself as well, which makes for a fabulous sweet-salty contrast to try with graham crackers.

4. Brie is a smooth, buttery cheese made from cow’s milk that presents a perfect palette companion for a rich and creamy chocolate sauce. Brie en Croute is a traditional, heated brie dish that features the cheese housed in a delicate pastry shell. The addition of chocolate sauce easily transforms it into a chocolate delight.

5. White chocolate (technically not chocolate, but the extracted cocoa butter) may not be as common as milk chocolate, but it’s flavorful and looks incredibly elegant. It’s perfect to make a truly sinful cheesecake. Most recipes use cream cheese, but try using a Brie or a Camembert.

It may not be the most common pairing, but that just makes it more fun! These are only a few suggestions to get you started on a sweet new gastronomic journey!

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