Grab a chocolate bar. No, really go ahead! Whatever your choice – milk, dark, bitter, white…whatever you like. Done? Okay, unwrap it. Now close your eyes and smell it. Breathe its aroma in, as deep as possible. Doesn’t it feel good? Okay, now take a small bite. Don’t chew. Let it rest at the center of your tongue and melt away. Smiling, yet?
Welcome! You’ve reached chocolate paradise. It’s your own lil world of peace and tranquility. Where, even for just a minute or two, everything’s okay. That’s the purpose of chocolate.
While just consuming it is mesmerizing enough, you’d be surprised at how much knowing about this wonderful gift from nature can bring you joy. So, here’s a little run down of how that beauty in your hand comes to be.
It all begins with the humble cocoa bean (or cacao, as it’s originally called). It belongs to the Theobroma Cacao tree. This is how we get the chocolate we love:
Did you know that there are a variety of cacao trees? And based on the kind of environment (soil, climate, etc.) they grow in, cocoa beans can have a variety of flavours, even within the same species of trees.
Now let’s get to busting a very important myth. Chocolate is bad for health! Really!?? Do you really think that something as beautiful and delicious and rich like chocolate could be bad for your health? Of course, you would. Most forbidden foods are. But as the saying goes, too much of anything can be. So in this case, let’s bring to your attention an important, (no – very important) fact.
‘Cocoa’ (or Cacao) – the main component of chocolate, is high in antioxidants.
In fact, a study conducted at the Yale University Prevention Research Centre states that cacao has “more phenolic antioxidants than most foods” and can play a major role in reducing the risk for diabetes (Katz, Doughty and Ali, 2011). How about that?!