le chocolat

What can I say, it was another beautiful day! People were out enjoying their Sunday. The sun was shining through the cirrus clouds as I rode my bike to yoga.  After class though, I was on a mission–in the mission–for food! So I grabbed a burrito and scurried home to devour it.  Afterwards my mouth was left with an unsatisfied craving for something sweet to take the edge off.  I knew exactly what would fix it. Chocolate!  The best kind too, the leftover chocolate that your mother sends you for Valentines Day!  As I unwrapped each individual foiled Hershey Kiss, visions of happiness entered my brain.

When I was younger, I couldn’t handle the intense flavor. My mouth was left dry and all I wanted was something to drink. Usually milk. I often preferred chocolate with nuts, dried fruits, or caramel. Now as a woman, I find it quite satisfying. Whether it’s plain milk chocolate, bitter dark chocolate, or creamy white chocolate, I want it in my mouth.

Why does it mean so much to me? Well, I grew up in a small town that smelled like chocolate about once a week. And every weekend of my summer as a youth,  I went to Hershey Park.  Not to mention my obsession for  Chocolate Skateboards. I mean they’re one of the best skate companies around. Look at this new deck:http://www.actionvillage.com/110-124-0319 Umm, birthday present please!

Coming from the cacao tree, cocoa beans are picked when perfectly ripened.  There are several types of cacao trees but most of the chocolate we consume comes from the criollo, forastero and trinitario varieties. Criollo being the rarest and having the largest economical footprint– forastero the most commonly manufactured type of cacao tree.  Unfortunately the fingers and hands that pick these precious beans are the hands of children.  Most of the youth work under child labor factories from countries  in West Africa, Central, and South America. Sorry. No more depressing facts. Just try to buy your chocolate responsibly.

Chocolate is knows for tasting good but did you know of its antioxidant properties? Particular dark chocolate, which has catechin.  Catachen when combined with a proper exercise regime can slow the process of aging. Plants with traces of catachen have also been known to act as its own herbicide. Word up! This savory chuck of goodness is also linked to increasing blood flow and intestinal release.  Chocolate can also trigger the brain’s natural flow of opiates, creating relaxation and decreasing anxiety. With traces of antibacterial properties, one could say that chocolate is a jack of all trades. Don’t take my glutinous word for it, click here for more info: http://www.exploratorium.edu/chocolate/

Needless to say I finally finished my Valentines leftovers and used all of its sweet benefits productively. Chocolate and I have a 20-something-year-old love story; beginning with intrigue and intensity. Ending with admiration and respect.  I think it’s a proper way to end a love story.

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