Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
Monday, April 19th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
This week, Spanish medical researchers reported that chocolate may be good medicine for patients with severe liver disease. Those Spaniards must have known something very early on know since they’re the ones who first brought chocolate to Europe from the New World in the Americas.
Reuters of London was all abuzz about comments made by Dr. Mark Thursz, a professor of hepatology at London’s Imperial College, when he said, “This new study shows a clear association between eating dark chocolate and (lower) portal hypertension and demonstrates the potential importance of improvements in the management of cirrhotic patients with chocolate.” Cocoa, rich in dark chocolate and low in sugar, could be prescribed for people with liver cirrhosis in the future. This is yet another new study among a body of research to demonstrate the amazing potential health benefits of chocolate.
The Spanish researchers said that eating dark chocolate capped the usual after-meal rise in abdominal blood pressure, which can reach dangerous levels in cirrhotic patients and, in severe cases, lead to blood vessel rupture. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver as a result of long-term damage. It is caused by various factors, including hepatitis infection and alcohol abuse.
Found in cocoa, antioxidants called flavanols are believed to be the reason why chocolate is so good for the control of blood pressure because the chemicals help the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessels to relax and widen.
A study of 21 patients with end-stage liver disease found that those given a meal containing 85% cacao dark chocolate had a markedly smaller rise in blood pressure in the liver—or portal hypertension—than those given white chocolate.
The results were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna and follow a number of earlier scientific studies suggesting that dark chocolate also promotes heart health.
At Choclatique, we have developed a great-tasting chocolate low in sugar and high in antioxidants, called Q-91. Choclatique’s Q-91 is a uniquely complex blend of several different cacao beans from each of the major cacao growing regions around the world. With the first taste, you will discover that the rich, natural flavors of ripe cherry and deep chocolate foreshadow complex layers of tart citrus, red fruit and nutty notes held up by a solid chocolate base.
Even though Choclatique’s Q-91 tastes great, it still contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which are said to have positive physiological effects on the mind and health benefits for the body. Dark chocolate like Q-91 has been linked to increased serotonin levels in the brain because it includes a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals and lessen the effects of many diseases and aging.
Thursday, March 11th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
When I was 16 years old my father suffered a debilitating stroke. Having been to the doctor and given a good bill of health only 2 weeks before, it was shock to say the very least. It was something that my family never recovered from. How could someone who was that healthy be lying on the floor? Most experts say the causes for the common stroke are still quite puzzling.
Could chocolate have prevented his stroke? Last week a Harvard study found that a couple of squares of dark chocolate a day might reduce the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke, by 52 percent.
There are two types of strokes—ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain becomes blocked. This type of stroke accounts for about 80 percent of all strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and bleeds into the brain which makes up about 20 percent of all strokes.
The findings were presented last week at the American Heart Association’s conference on cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention in San Francisco, California.
According to Dr. Martin Lajous, “The research found that the effects of a rich cocoa (about 9 grams—2 or 3 squares daily—35% cacao at a minimum—we recommend Choclatique Q-91 or Elephant Chocolate 76% cacao) on cardio vascular health seems to be through its effect on blood pressure, and the capacity to improve the flexibility of the blood vessels.”
The benefit attributed to cocoa stems from substances it contains known as flavonoids, which are believed to help protect against certain cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as blood pressure and blood clotting.
People who add such things as chocolate or red wine to their diet with the hope of helping to prevent heart disease also need to be aware that they’re taking in additional calories. So mild exercise 3 to 4 times a week is advised. If you start adding weight, you may be giving yourself additional risk factors for stroke and heart disease.
How Do You Recognize Stroke?
Symptoms of stroke appear suddenly. Watch for these symptoms and be prepared to act quickly for yourself or on behalf of someone you are with:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble talking, or understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
If you suspect you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms indicative of a stroke, do not wait. Call 911 emergency immediately.
There are now effective therapies for stroke that must be administered at a hospital, but they lose their effectiveness if not given within the first 3 hours after stroke symptoms appear. Every minute counts!
Costs of Stroke to the United States: estimated at $43 billion / year
- Direct costs for medical care and therapy: estimated at about $28 billion / year
- Indirect costs from lost productivity and other factors: estimated at about $15 million / year
- Average cost of care for a patient up to 90 days after a stroke: $15,000
- For 10% of patients, cost of care for the first 90 days after a stroke: $35,000
- Percentage of direct cost of care for the first 90 days*:
- Initial Hospitalization = 43%
- Rehabilitation = 16%
- Physician Costs = 14%
- Hospital Readmission = 14%
- Medications And Other Expenses = 13%
SOURCES: Martin Lajous, M.D., doctoral candidate, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Keith Siller, M.D., Medical Director, Comprehensive Stroke Care Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; March 3, 2010, presentation, American Heart Association’s Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Annual Conference, San Francisco
Thursday, February 18th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
I have always been a little on the chubby side and in order to keep my weight in check I try to eat well and exercise every day. Joan and I drive by the doughnut store every morning on the way to the Chocolate Studios and I will frequently call her on her cell phone asking her if it’s a “doughnut day.” The usual answer from her is a ‘NO!” Well, that’s the way it comes across, but what she politely says is, “if you really need a doughnut this morning and want to go off you diet then go ahead.” It comes across as a resounding “No, you fat guy, you don’t need another doughnut you’re going to be tasting chocolate all day.”
So this morning I tried a different approach and asked Joan, “Wouldn’t be great if broccoli was bad for you and doughnuts made you thinner and you never had to diet or exercise? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all indulgent foods were really a cure-all?
Well, in recently completed research chocolate may may have been found to be that ambrosia of the gods and companion to wine. The research presented chocolate and red wine are thought to be potent medicines for killing cancer. Red grapes and dark chocolate join blueberries, garlic, soy, and teas as ingredients that starve cancer while feeding bodies according to the Angiogenesis Foundation headed William Li (presented at the prestigious TED Conference). The Massachusetts-based foundation is identifying foods containing chemicals that evidently choke-off blood supplies to tumors, starving them to death. “We are rating foods based on their cancer-fighting qualities,” Li said. “What we eat is really our chemotherapy three times a day.” “There is a medical revolution happening all around us,” Li said. “If we’re right, it could impact on consumer education, food service, public health, and even insurance agencies.”
About a dozen drugs are already in use to deprive tumors of blood supplies in a treatment tactic called “anti-angiogenesis.” The foundation pitted some foods against approved drugs and found that soy, parsley, red grapes, berries and other comestibles were either as effective or more potent in battling cancer cells. Eaten together, the foods were even more effective in fighting cancer.
Dr. Li explained that Mother Nature laced a large number of foods and herbs with anti-angiogenesis features. For many people around the world, dietary cancer treatments may be the only solution because not everyone can afford expensive cancer drugs. And why shouldn’t they be for everyone if great tasting foods can get the job done better?
The foundation also discovered that the anti-angiogenesis properties of foods melt away fat, which relies heavily on blood flow to sustain itself. Tests showed that mice genetically prone to be chubby could be trimmed to average mouse size using this approach.
At Choclatique we make a variety of these high anti-oxidant chocolate offerings from which to choose starting with our Private Reserve Dark (64%), Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%) and Q-91 (91%). All of these dark chocolates provide a “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging. Chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds that recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels.
Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Our dark chocolates are low in sugar and rich in flavanols which now even more physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health. Scientists are still developing their opinions on the health benefits of dark chocolate, but the research has certainly reduced the stigma of a moderate daily dark chocolate habit.
So the next time you feel the need for a doughnut, chocolate chip cookie, or hot fudge nut trifle, don’t feel deprived, satiate your cravings with a piece of a great tasting dark Choclatique chocolate bar.
Update: For additional information check out: http://www.foodnutritionscience.com/index.cfm/do/monsanto.article/articleId/392.cfm
Monday, January 25th, 2010
— Joan Vieweger, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Twice a year the artisans and merchants of “fancy” foods gather in New York and San Francisco for the Summer and Winter Fancy Food Shows, sponsored by the NASFT—National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. Some 45,000 buyers walk aisle after aisle after aisle perusing, sniffing, nibbling and evaluating a mind-boggling 250,000 products from all around the world, including gourmet chocolates, handmade chocolate, chocolate truffles and fine chocolate.
Just prior to the start of the Fancy Food Show, our own talented group of artisans gathers for our semi-annual meeting of the FCIA—Fine Chocolate Industry Association. It’s a fun and fascinating group that includes professionals from all around the country involved in chocolate from blossom to bean to bonbon and bar: growers/producers, chocolatiers, chocolate makers, pastry chefs, chocolate manufacturers, marketers, writers, educators and specialty retailers.
The winter confluence of these groups took place January 16th-19th in San Francisco, so I grabbed my umbrella, trench coat and Wellies (have you seen our California weather lately?) and hit the road (or the airport and train station anyway).
Our FCIA program this year included a new feature called the Gallery Showcase in which members were given a small presentation space to “showcase” some of their latest and greatest or soon-to-be-released products. This was the first time that our fun and flavorful new Easter Chicks made their public debut. Chicks officially “hatch” on March 1st; they make wonderful chocolate gifts. Chicks make an excellent companion chocolate to our 24-karat gold Spring assortments.
The aww-factor was pretty high as my fellow association members considered the amount of painstaking detail involved in creating these hand-made chocolates. Each Chick is carefully hand-painted (eyes, beak, face/body, shell top and bottom), then cast in Private Reserve Premium Dark Chocolate (64% cacao), creamy Prestige Milk Chocolate (32%) or Snowy White Chocolate (33%), and filled with layers of flavors including Bumble Berry, Cherries Jubilee, Orange Orchard, Sticky Almond and Sweet Sesame Seed Crunch, among others.
The educational portion of the evening focused on an informative—and surprisingly entertaining—panel discussion focusing on the mystery, myths and facts around the health benefits of chocolate. An impressive panel of scientists and experts were assembled to explore the topic. They included: David Stuart, Director Natural Product Sciences for The Hershey Company; Catherine Kwik-Uribe, PhD Research Scientist for Mars; Joan Steuer, President of Chocolate Marketing and Founding Editor of Chocolatier (now Dessert Professional); and Clay Gordon, Founder of The Chocolate Life (online community).
The scientists presented data from research studies suggesting that chocolate does in fact yield beneficial effects from consumption including improvement in blood flow within 20 minutes of consumption and a reduction in blood pressure with daily consumption of small amounts (more studies are underway to further validate these findings). Clay discussed the benefits associated with cocoa and chocolate’s exceedingly high ORAC values (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, one of the primary methods for measuring and comparing antioxidant properties in foods), and Joan Steuer reminded us all that even if chocolate is ultimately determined to be a “health food” by any scientific standard, we should all remember the primary reason to consume is for the pure pleasure of the chocolate-eating experience.
The following day I put on my walking shoes and traversed over 180,000 square feet of exhibits at Moscone Center. I must admit to being a little myopic, focusing on the wonderful world of gourmet chocolate and our wonderful supporting vendors (packaging and specialty ingredients), but I did “slow my roll” a bit around the dozens of cheese booths (hey, I grew up in Wisconsin and now live in California… there’s whey in my blood) I encountered, not to mention artisan sausages and charcuterie producers. Of course, the What’s New/What’s Hot section is not to be missed, either. Lots of “green” offerings this year, and gluten-free was all the rage… none quite as good our gluten-free PurePower Peanut Bars.
Every style of specialty food is represented in a demonstration of America’s seemingly unlimited entrepreneurial spirit that drives artisans of every style to “take the plunge” and bring their craft to market. It’s only too bad that they don’t add a day for the public, allowing the vast community of foodies to come through to “try and buy.” It would definitely be a finger-lickin’ win/win for all concerned!
Friday, December 18th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
I have a friend who is a call-in radio psychologist. We have been carrying on an internet “affair” about the fantasies of chocolate. Oh, you thought this was going to be another one of those Tiger Wood confession’s stories, didn’t you?
This is my “Dear Doctor” letter for the day.
When I was a younger man I was a motion picture and television designer and director. I think most of the ladies liked me because of my artistic “talent” and “good looks” or it could have been because they thought I might be able to get them a part in one of my productions. Mind you, I never took advantage of the situation, but it was fun to fantasize about.
Today, as an older, more mature gentleman my thoughts have turned to food and my fantasies have turned to chocolate. You may think that I have thoughts of painting a beautiful Victoria Secret model with dark chocolate body paint or sharing a milk chocolate bath with some luscious babe, but for me these days it’s about the aroma of this mysterious elixir that seems to drive everyone around me crazy.
You see, “I love the smell of ‘Chocolate’ in the morning.” Borrowing the line (I believe he said “napalm”) from Robert Duvall in “Apocalypse Now” that’s the way I start my day each morning. This morning I was particularly tempted while starting up the milk chocolate tempering kettles to consume the entire batch. The smell was so overwhelming that I dipped a tasting spoon into the 100 pound pot and took a morning hit of our Prestige Milk Chocolate followed a few tablespoons blended with warm milk. This is so much more rewarding than a cup of hot cocoa—after all, it’s Choclatique chocolate. Prestige Milk Chocolate is a special blend of only 5—ingredients cacao mass, cocoa butter, pure vanilla, sugar and real milk—not the powdered milk that most of the other chocolate companies use. What a wonderful, natural high… a hot, thick steamy milk chocolate beverage at 7:30 in the morning!
So, as you can see, my fantasies have turned from beautiful women (movie stars and models) to that of the rich, wonderful aroma (and taste) of freshly melted milk chocolate.
It’s really tough to get old; is there any hope for me or am I forever hopeless?
I say this with my best bed-side manner. Age is simply a state of mind. You are only as old as you feel. Today’s 60 is yesterday’s 40. Okay, I have given you all the “feel good” clichés. What do you want me to tell you? It sucks to get old. Learn to live with it and enjoy your daily hit of chocolate—that may be all you get. And, believe me, you will enjoy it. Here’s why:
Chocolate contains a variety of substances. These include:
- Sugar—some chocolates (as opposed to Cocoa) contain higher amounts of sugar than others.
- Theobromine—various theobromines are present. Theobromine is chemically similar to caffeine and is a light stimulus.
- Anandamide—an endogenous cannabinoid which is also naturally produced in the Human brain and gives you a sexy, feel good feeling.
- Tryptophan—an essential amino acid that is a precursor to Serotonin, an important neurotransmitter involved in regulating and elevating moods.
- Phenylethylamine—a Neurotransmitter from which amphetamine is derived. Often described as a ‘love chemical.’ It is quickly metabolised by monoamine oxidase, so it has little effect on the central nervous system, but sure makes you feel like you are falling in love.
All of these and another 300 chemical substances make you feel really great, sexy, energized, YOUNG and in love. So, who needs anything else when you can fantasize about chocolate?
There are some many wonderful milk chocolate choices to choose from for the holidays starting with Choclatique’s Milk Chocolate Boutique, Collection and Indulgence (8-, 15- and 30-piece box assortments), Choclatique’s Prestige Milk Chocolate Tablets and Tapestries and Choclatique’s Milk Chocolate Foil-Wrapped Easter Eggs.
Friday, October 30th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Does dark chocolate have a more positive impact on women than on men? We’ve know for a long time that women have in some way compared sex to chocolate, or vice a versa. Finally doctors have discovered the missing link between the two.
According to Italian researchers (you’ve got to love the Italians when it come to amore or chocolate), women who eat chocolate have a better sex life than those who don’t. Women who enjoy chocolate have higher levels of desire, arousal and satisfaction from sex.
Learning from the clinical side, a group of urologists from San Raffaele hospital in Milan questioned 163 women about their consumption of chocolate as well as their experience of sexual fulfillment. The study found that women who have a daily intake of chocolate showed higher levels of desire than women who didn’t indulge. The hypothesis is that chocolate has a positive physiological impact on a woman’s sexuality.” The study was funded from a grant from a university, not from Choclatique, another confection company, or the candy industry.
Dr. Andrea Salonia, author of the study, discovered that women who have a low libido could even become more amorous after eating chocolate. The good doctor believes chocolate could be particularly medicinal for women who shun sex because they are suffering from premenstrual tension.
It was further discovered that chocolate is not like a food, but reacts more like a drug. Women who suffer mood swings as a result of their menstrual cycle may also suffer a dip in their sexual function. Dr. Salonia believes eating chocolate may improve a woman’s sexual functions and attitude.
The research looked at the lifestyle habits that affect women’s sex lives. It also looked at smoking and coffee consumption but found no links with sexual enjoyment. Some might argue, however, that women who like chocolate are simply more sensually attuned.
Whatever the reasons, it appears that there something more than just satisfying your “sweetie’s” sweet tooth with a box of chocolate. So take it from me, the Chocolate Doctor, the best thing you can do for your love life this coming year is to join the club—the Chocolates of the Month—the subscription purchase that delivers a box of Choclatique the second week of each month. This will guarantee that you… well you know where I’m going with this—C H O C O L A T I Q U E C H O C O L A T E and the Chocolates of the Month. Membership has its privileges.
Thursday, September 24th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Eat More Chocolate!
I like to go to Hooters… strictly for the food, of course. Okay, I do like to look at the beautiful ladies as well. If you’ve ever been there you must have admired the fact that all the ladies manage to fit into a size 4 or smaller.
Yesterday, they handed me a menu and their new state-mandated nutritional guide. While I have always been very conscious about reading the labels on packaged goods I have now been forced to study the amount of calories I am consuming in restaurants. It seems unfair that everything I love has more calories than I can afford. In fact, every place I go these days I am assaulted by the nutritionals of all the menu items. While it’s hard to believe that a Hooters Cobb Salad without dressing is nearly 700 calories—add a little blue cheese dressing and it takes it up to almost 1000 calories. A plate of un-breaded wings is also about the same; add an additional 180 calories for the mild wing sauce. So after seeing these numbers, my first thought is where do the Hooter’s “girls” go for lunch?
No wonder I have had a weight problem! I love foods that are fattening. If I asked you which has more calories?… a Western BBQ burger, a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich or Sloppy Pulled Pork Sandwich… what would your answer be? Wrong! It’s the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at a whopping 1551 calories. My lunch guest originally ordered that, but then quickly switched to the Pulled Pork Sandwich with less than half the calories unless you add in the Curly Fries at 809 calories, of course.
I noticed that even what I thought was a modest salad at IHOP was nearly 1400 calories—that’s higher than a Chicken-Fried Steak platter. Next time I’ll pass on the salad and eat the steak. It was even worse at my favorite Cheesecake Factory in Marina del Rey. As I was being seated, I had to walk by the display case of desserts and saw the required posted calorie counts of 900 calories for a slice of sugar-free cheesecake to 1700 calories for a piece of their signature chocolate cheesecakes.
It’s been a while since I checked out the calorie counts on our Choclatique Chocolate. What a pleasant surprise when I walked into the Chocolate Studio this morning to read our labels—an entire-8 piece box of Choclatique Decadent Desserts is only 480 calories. That’s one third the calories of a chicken sandwich. A full box of Bubbly—Champagne Truffles— “weighed” in at only 400 calories. If you’re looking for a solid hit of chocolate, a large bar (we call them tablets in Dark, Milk and White) ranges from 510 to 540 calories.
I have been watching my weight all my life and have been on the Choclatique Q-91 Diet since June and have lost about 25 pounds. I indulge in a just a couple of Q-91 pieces a day at just about 28 calories; plus moderate exercise and I watch my carbs. I also manage to fit in a Choclatique Pure Power Protein bar when I feel the urge to snack (240 calories and 9.5 grams of protein).
Even better than the low calories are the facts regarding the health benefits of chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the richer it is in flavanols which many health professionals say are beneficial to your well-being and looks. Research has linked the antioxidants found in dark chocolate to decreases in blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol. Chocolate has also been shown to reduce cavities. Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac—so kiss your Viagra good-bye.
The small amount of caffeine found in chocolate (1.4 oz of chocolate = 1 cup of decaf coffee) combined with Theobromine, a weak stimulant also present in chocolate, provides the “lift” that chocolate eaters experience which many believe to be a mood elevator and an anti-depressant.
So there you have it. Chocolate is luscious and tastes fantastic; makes you feel great and has fewer calories than a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Hooters. Here is what I propose: Buy an 8-piece box of your favorite Choclatique Chocolate, take it to the nearest Hooters, order a glass of water and look at the ladies. This is guaranteed to elevate your mood to new heights.
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Chocolate Cuts Death Rate in Heart Attack Survivors
I love the smell of chocolate in the morning—and now here’s another reason why. “Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from coronary disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff”, scientists reported.
So for all of you that have had heart attacks or are at risk of having one let me give you our web address, www.choclatique.com address. We have two products, Q-91 (91%) and Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%), that are the low in sugar and are the perfect prescription for what ails you. They are 50 times cheaper and taste better than a Lipitor tablet. This new information alone could cut a couple of trillion dollars off the costs of health care worldwide.
The report went on to say that smaller quantities offer less protection, but are still better than nothing at all. Every little bit helps. If you think I jest, you can find the article that appears in the September issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.
Earlier research had established a strong link between cocoa-based confections and reduced blood pressure and cholesterol and an improvement in blood flow. It had also shown that chocolate cuts the rate of heart-related mortality in healthy older men, along with post-menopausal women.
But here’s the latest news on the subject. The new study, led by Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is the first to demonstrate that consuming chocolate can help ward off the grim reaper even if one has suffered acute myocardial infarction — otherwise known as a heart attack. “[The study] was specific to chocolate — we found no benefit to sweets in general,” said Kenneth Mukamal, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and one of the co-authors of the study. “It seems that antioxidants in cocoa are a likely candidate for explaining the live-saving properties,” he shared with AFP in an exchange of e-mails.
Antioxidants are those somewhat mysterious and magical compounds that protect against so-called free radicals, molecules that accumulate in the body over time and can damage cells and are thought to major play a role in heart disease, cancer and the aging process.
In the study, Janszky and colleagues tracked 1,169 non-diabetic men and women, 45-to-70 years old, in Stockholm County during the early 1990s from the time they were hospitalized with their first-ever heart attack. The participants were asked before leaving the hospital about their food consumption habits over the previous year, including how much chocolate they ate on a regular basis.
They underwent a health examination three months after discharge, and were monitored for eight years after that. The incidence of fatal heart attacks correlated inversely with the amount of chocolate consumed.
These findings supported the increasing evidence that chocolate is a rich source of beneficial bioactive compounds. The results are the same for both men and women, and across all the age groups included in the study. Other factors that might have affected the outcome—alcohol consumption, obesity, and smoking—were also taken into account.
As mother used to say, “Everything in moderation.” If you have a weight problem, which can also lead to a heart attacked, stick to about an ounce a day. Enjoy chocolate that is high in cacao content and high in mass with less sugar like Q-91 (91%) and Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%).
As the Dr. Strangelove of Chocolate (and the co-founder of Choclatique) my advice is to enjoy chocolate when you can. It is a healthier alternative to desserts in moderate quantities. So take two pieces and call me in the morning.
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
I was asked to do an interview this morning with Professional Candy Buyer Magazine to discuss dark chocolate. Ask anyone—dark chocolate is the “feel-good” food of the decade. What could be better? It tastes great and has enough serotonin and caffeine to lift your mood, spirits and attitude any time of the day.
One thing the reporter should have been told prior to our meeting is, “Don’t ask Ed any open-ended questions about chocolate.” And, of course her first question was, “What do you think about ‘dark chocolate’?” Wow… off I went.
First of all, I love great dark chocolate. More to the point, I love Choclatique dark chocolate. We have several choices of the deep, dark goodness… they include:
- Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%)
- Ebony Dark Chocolate (72%)
- Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%)
- Q-91 (91%)
- Single Origin Dark Chocolates from, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Madagascar, Columbian and real American Hawaiian Dark Chocolate (all at 65%)
What’s the difference? Where do I begin?
- Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%) is “reserved” for our terrific couverture for our boxed chocolate and for Ingots, Tablets and Tapestries. Private Reserve is made from 17 equatorial beans grown from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. They are fermented, dried and roasted to perfection. This chocolate is conched (blended) to an ultra-smooth texture for 72 hours at precise temperatures to bring out the natural, dark, fruity flavor of the cacao bean.
- Ebony Dark Chocolate (72%) is a very intense, bittersweet chocolate used primarily for making pastry—very intense chocolate cakes, pies and puddings. It is much sharper than our Private Reserve Dark Chocolate and is not particularly suited for making truffles and other confections. It is the ultimate chocolate-lovers’ baking chocolate.
- Elephant—Seriously Strong Dark Chocolate (76%) is mind-blowing in its complexity, rivaling all of the high percentage cacao chocolates from the European legacy chocolate makers. Elephant Chocolate is a harmonious mélange of Criollo and Trinitario beans, bringing out the light floral aromas of ripe cherry and the essence of raisin top notes. There are deep chocolate layers punctuated by the complex flavors of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted walnut and almond notes. The mild but complex aroma gives way to the intense flavor of Elephant Chocolate. This full-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the palate with a long, bittersweet finish. The elephant-shaped chocolate is a deep, dark red-brown, with an incredibly perfect glossy finish, so that the chocolate appears to glow. This is a chocolate for eating, not for baking. It has flavors and textures you won’t soon forget.
- Choclatique Q-91 is our super-dark, bittersweet premium chocolate high in cacao mass. One of the most pleasant effects of eating Q-91 chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging. Q-91 chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds. Scientists can’t yet explain some of the pleasurable effects of consuming chocolate, but they’re working on it.
Recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which dark chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels. Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. The darker the chocolate the richer it is in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health.
The small amount of caffeine found in chocolate (1.4 oz of chocolate = 1 cup of decaf coffee) combined with Theobromine, a weak stimulant also present in chocolate, provides the “lift” that chocolate eaters experience. Although no conclusive proof exists yet, Phenylethylamine is reputed to be a mood elevator and an anti-depressant.
Scientists are still developing their opinions on the health benefits of dark chocolate. It is probably not a good idea to replace your daily intake of fruits and vegetables with a 6-layer frosted chocolate cake—whether dark or milk chocolate, but the research has certainly reduced the stigma of a moderate daily chocolate habit.
How can you judge chocolatier and the quality of their chocolate? Savor the flavor of their chocolate; no fillings, just chocolate. Trying a bag of our Assorted Ingots is a great way to get to know our chocolate. Give them a try and let us know what you think.