Chocolate. There are few foods that people feel as passionate about, a passion that goes beyond a love for the “sweetness” of most candies or desserts, after all, few people crave caramel, whipped cream, or bubble gum. Chocolate is, well, different. Chocolate, as few doctor s might say is not always harmful to us, and neither is it all that good. For the true chocoholic, just thinking about chocolate can evoke a pleasurable response.
Chocolate has been said to cause acne and tooth decay, and has a reputation for being a fattening, nutrition-less food. But, the good news is that most of the bad effects of eating chocolate are either overstated or entirely false. Eating chocolate neither causes nor aggravates acne. Chocolate also has not been proven to cause cavities or tooth decay. In fact, there are indications that the cocoa butter in the chocolate coats the teeth and may help protect them by preventing plaque from forming. The sugar in chocolate does contribute to cavities, but no more than the sugar in any other food. Fine chocolate can actually help lower your cholesterol. Since chocolate contains large amounts of caffeine, it is thus associated as an energy booster. Those euphoric feelings of falling in or being in love can also be felt from consuming chocolate, because it releases endorphins into the body. But then, eating too much of any food may cause health problems.
The origins of chocolate can be traced back to the ancient Maya and Aztec civilizations in Central America who first enjoyed a much-prized spicy drink ‘chocolatl’, made from roasted cocoa beans. And, in 1900 Queen Victoria sent special made chocolate bars to soldiers fighting in the Boer War as a New Year’s greeting.
When we moderns think of chocolate, we think of it in its solid, sweetened form, and this is reflected in the undue emphasis, which much food writing gives to solid chocolate. Yet during nine-tenths of its long history, chocolate was drunk, not eaten. Chocolate contains cocoa, which has over 500 distinct flavor compounds resulting in an extremely complex blend of flavor and aromas.
Whether delicately drizzled over pastry, artfully lined inside a heart-shaped box, or seductively submerged upon the tip of a strawberry, chocolate is renowned, world-wide, as the ultimate sensual food.
- Sunaina Sharon Lobo