Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
2010 has come to an end and this is the beginning of a promising new year—2011. It is an appropriate time to look back at some of the events that have taken center stage in our lives over the last year. Don’t worry… I am not going to carry on about health care, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; the START Treaty or even the drubbing the Democrats took during the November election. About the only subject on a political note I have is over my concerns of tragic unrest in Ivory Coast which has the vast potential to disrupt the lives of many innocent people and further destabilize cocoa prices which are already at an all-time high.
What I do want to address are new learnings about chocolate this past year. The cacao genome map is being studied and we are discovering so much more about this wonderful, ancient and magical plant, including all of the health benefits that can be derived from eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate each day.
We read about a new cocoa-based drug that has the potential to treat persistent coughs. The drug is a joint development by United Kingdom-based SEEK, and United States-based Pernix. This new drug contains theobromine, an ingredient naturally present in cocoa and chocolate. The drug is entering the final stages of human clinical trials and could be on market within a little more than two years. This will be the first effective non-opioid treatment for persistent or chronic cough in two decades. Human trial research in South Korea has shown that theobromine has none of the side effects associated with standard drug treatments for persistent cough.
Persistent cough is a very common condition, afflicting over 800 million people worldwide, with an estimated 12% of the general population having the symptoms. Failure to treat a cough can lead to enormous consequences in terms of loss of one’s heath and well-being. Theobromine, a key compound in chocolate, has been shown to inhibit the inappropriate firing of the vagus nerve, which is a key cause of a persistent cough.
I, for one, have had a persistent, nagging cough since a bout with pneumonia several years ago and take at least one Choclatique Q-91 square—our functional chocolate—to dampen it down. As good as Q-91 is, I am still looking forward to concentrated chocolate flavored cough drops or syrups.
During the year we continued to hear about the expanded benefits of chocolate which has been used a vasodilator, or blood vessel widener, a diuretic, a heart stimulant, a cavity inhibitor and even a way to improve bad breath.
We also learned this year that Flavanol compounds derived from cocoa boosts the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrates the effect of cocoa flavanols on select stomach bacteria in humans and, “suggests the potential prebiotic benefits associated with the dietary inclusion of flavanol-rich foods have a beneficial effect through their selective metabolism in the intestinal tract.”
Scientists from the Nestlé Research Center reported earlier this year that a that daily consumption of just 40 grams of dark chocolate like Choclatique’s Q-91 significantly increases a person’s metabolism to help control weight maintenance. Dr. Jeremy Spencer from the University of Reading said that implications of the study are “that subtle changes in dietary habits, such as eating dark chocolate, can benefit long term health.”
Manufacturers’ interest in the active compounds in cocoa started about 20 years ago when scientists sought to understand the flavor components of chocolate. The bitter and astringent compounds were isolated, and further study and clinical work showed the health benefits of the monomers and the tannins, particularly epicatechin.
Scientists active in the area are keen to stress that chocolate and cocoa are very different in terms and not interchangeable. Cocoa is the non-fat component of cocoa liquor (finely ground cocoa beans) which is used in chocolate making or as Cocoa liquor contains approximately 55 per cent cocoa butter and together this comprises cocoa solids, often referred to on chocolate packaging. cocoa powder (usually about 12 percent fat) for cooking and drinks. Chocolate refers to the combination of cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, etc. in a solid food product.
All of us at Choclatique thank you—our loyal readers and valued customers—for a great 2010 and we wish you all a healthful and prosperous 2011 filled with sweet dreams and chocolate wishes.
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
From obesity to diabetes, how startling discoveries about the womb are changing the way we think about health.
Women have heard for years all the things that are bad to eat when pregnant, but now we are learning that chocolate may be just what the doctor ordered.
We know childhood diabetes, teenage obesity, chronic depression and heart disease afflict millions of Americans in nearly epidemic proportions. And now, according to Annie Murphy Paul’s new book, Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, we are just starting to learn that those conditions may originate, at least partly, in the womb.
We’ve all heard about the effects of thalidomide exposure and fetal alcohol syndrome, but in recent years, the burgeoning science of “fetal origins” has made some surprising new discoveries about how conditions in the uterus can affect an adult person’s health in the future.
For instance, pregnant women who were close to the Twin Towers on 9/11 and developed post traumatic stress disorder gave birth to babies with low levels of cortisol, a hormone that regulates stress. Women who are depressed while pregnant are likelier to deliver premature babies with low birth weights. These scientific discoveries reinforce the notion that, while a person’s genetic code only offers a template for development, the conditions in the womb fine-tune the expression of those genes. It is the perfect welding of nature and nurture.
Origins investigates the consequences that the nine months of gestation have for infancy, childhood, adulthood and even old age. We get our DNA at the moment of conception, but the way our genes behave and the way they’re expressed, can still be affected by the environment. Now we’re learning that this kind of epigenetic modification, as it’s known, happens most consequentially in the uterus.
And not at all surprising, we are what we eat or you are at least what your mother has eaten 9 months prior to your birth.
The expectant mother should eat fish, making sure it’s low in mercury. And here’s the best part—Moms-to-be should also eat a moderate amount of, you guessed it—chocolate! Chocolate is associated with a reduced risk of preeclampsia (hypertension and related problems during pregnancy).
Expectant mothers should also perform a moderate amount of exercise, because that gives the fetus a workout, too. And, moms and the people around them should help maintain a moderate level of stress because that actually accelerates fetal brain development.
But the bigger message is to keep an open mind. We are constantly learning new information about diet and its effects on our day-to-day lives. It seems that our mothers and grandmothers were correct when they told us “everything in moderation” including a little chocolate in your everyday diet.
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Chocolate, and its reported therapeutic properties, has made recent splashes across the media. In fact, several new and different medical studies performed by reputable universities, organizations, and institutions cite the possible benefits of eating chocolate.
The following is meant to be a brief overview of research results as related by a variety of resources and publications. However, scientists are constantly uncovering new information about the more than 300 chemicals contained in chocolate—so keep your eyes on the news for the latest updates and changes in chocolate health.
Here are some interesting facts compiled by the Field Museum in Chicago for their Chocolate Exhibit on the health benefits of chocolate.
Does chocolate cause cavities?
Not necessarily. According to a recent study by Osaka University in Japan, cacao contains antibacterial agents that actually fight tooth decay. However, most mass-produced chocolate contains sugar, which is known to cause tooth decay and probably counteracts the benefits of these agents.
Does chocolate cause acne?
Not according to studies performed by the Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the U.S. Naval Academy. Eating or not eating chocolate made no difference in the skin condition of the study participants. In fact, most doctors believe that acne is not linked primarily to any diet.
Will the caffeine in chocolate make me jittery?
Probably not. Cacao does contain a number of stimulants, such as caffeine and theobromine, but in small amounts that are diluted even further when processed into chocolate. In fact, one ounce of milk chocolate contains about the same amount of caffeine as one cup of decaffeinated coffee. Interestingly, one study has shown that the smell of chocolate may actually relax you by increasing theta waves in the brain.
Can chocolate cause headaches?
There is little evidence of this, according to research conducted by the University of Pittsburgh. However, some studies suggest that chocolate may trigger headaches specifically in migraine sufferers.
Is chocolate an aphrodisiac?
Not really. Chocolate contains small amounts of a chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA), which is a mild mood elevator. It’s the same chemical that our brain produces when we feel happy or “in love.” The mild “rush” we get from this substance may be why some people say they’re “addicted” to chocolate.
Will chocolate raise my cholesterol levels?
Contrary to popular misconception, eating lots of chocolate does not raise blood cholesterol levels. According to Mayo Clinic studies, chocolate contains stearic acid, which is a neutral fat that does not increase bad cholesterol (LDL). Also, the cocoa butter in chocolate contains oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat. This is the same type of fat found in olive oil that may actually raise good cholesterol (HDL).
Will eating chocolate make me fat?
It can—if you eat enough of it. Chocolate, especially milk chocolate, is high in calories. In fact, it was once prescribed to help fatten up patients suffering from wasting diseases like tuberculosis. However, some people claim that drinking a cup of hot chocolate before a meal actually diminishes their appetite. One researcher at the Aromocology Patch Co. Ltd. even experimented with helping patients lose weight by having them sniff a chocolate-scented patch whenever they were tempted to snack!
Does chocolate contain any nutrients?
Yes, it does, in small amounts. A 1.5-ounce milk chocolate bar contains recommended daily values of the following vitamins and minerals:
- 3 grams of protein
- 15% of the Daily Value of riboflavin
- 9% of the Daily Value for calcium
- 7% of the Daily Value for iron
And if you add nuts like almonds or peanuts into the mix, you increase all of the amounts of nutrients listed above.
Will I live longer if I eat chocolate?
Perhaps. A Harvard University study found that men who ate chocolate lived one year longer than those who didn’t. Scientists think that chocolate contains chemicals that help keep blood vessels elastic and increase beneficial antioxidants in the bloodstream, but research is under way and no conclusive results have been found.
Many people eat chocolate when they are sad or feeling down. Others crave the stuff, claiming they are addicted to chocolate’s unique taste and smell. Some even assert that chocolate can relax you, help you lose weight, and even prolong your life.
Scientists from many different institutions and organizations have conducted a number of studies on chocolate in recent years in order to sort through these claims. What they have discovered will not only surprise you, but may forever change the way you think about, buy, and eat chocolate.
Friday, July 9th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
This is just the news I have been waiting for. According to Dr. Karin Ried, a researcher at Adelaide University, “Just a chunk of chocolate a day could have the same effect on high blood pressure as half an hour of exercise.”
As it turns out, while people have been looking for the fountain of youth, the silver bullet or Holy Grail has been right there on the shelf in the candy aisle of your favorite supermarket or confection store all along.
We now know for certain that chocolate—and especially dark chocolate—contains chemicals known as flavanols which naturally open up blood vessels in the body. That means blood flows more easily and blood pressure drops.
The study showed that for those suffering from high blood pressure the effect of chocolate was so dramatic it could reduce their chances of having a heart attack or stroke by 20% over five years. Hey, I’ve been eating chocolate for over 50 years. I’m going to live forever!
“You don’t always need medication to reduce blood pressure,” said Dr. Ried who carried out the research. “This [study] shows that there are some [functional] foods that can help.”
Millions of people around the world suffer from high blood pressure–also known as hypertension; around half of them undiagnosed. About one in 10 patients cannot control the condition with medication or cannot tolerate the drugs, leaving them at greater risk. Hundreds of millions face a lifetime on medication to reduce the risk of suffering heart disease, strokes or even kidney failure.
For the latest research, Dr. Ried and her team of doctors and medical researchers combined the results of 15 other studies looking at chocolate and cocoa between 1955 and 2009 covering hundreds of people. They found that for people with hypertension, eating chocolate could reduce the blood pressure by up to five per cent. For those with normal pressure it had no effect. “This is a significant finding,” said Dr Ried.
“We’ve found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure, but not for people with normal blood pressure.”
She said it will take more research to determine the optimal amount of chocolate that was needed to make the most difference. Any volunteers who want to eat massive amounts of chocolate are welcome to sign up here.
She said the studies varied from just one chunk (6g) to a whole bar (100g) a day. People with high blood pressure are seen to have it consistently higher than 140mm Hg systolic or 90mm Hg diastolic. Normal is 90/60. The results showed that chocolate would make it drop 5mm in systolic pressure which is comparable to the known effects of 30 daily minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking or swimming.
Chocolate has been found to have health giving benefits in the past. Research published earlier this year showed that people who eat just one bar a week are 22% less likely to suffer a stroke. Choclatique’s Q-91 may be just the answer to your functional chocolate needs. 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. Chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds including alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which are said to have positive physiological effects on the body, and have been linked to increased serotonin levels in the brain.
Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can not only lower blood pressure, but prevent tooth decay as well. Dark chocolate has recently been promoted for its additional health benefits, including a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals and reduce the effects of aging. However, the health giving benefits have to be weighed against their contribution to weight gain.
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.