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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Chocolate Bars

How much better can the news get?? According to researchers, (bless their chocolate hearts!), dark chocolate helps lower your blood pressure and can help reduce your LDL cholesterol (the Lousy kind) by up to 10%. Oh, and this miracle sweet treat is also noted for its anti-depressant and endorphin-producing properties.

Dark chocolate is defined as 65% cacao or greater…sorry milk and white chocolate lovers. Apparently the higher the cacao percent the greater the health benefits. And, as you might imagine, all good things in moderation.

As I travel around the country I’m always on the lookout for great chocolates and especially when I’m in cities. One of my favorites is Fog City News in San Francisco. They boast one of the largest chocolate selections in the country and their staff is highly trained to help you with your chocolate choice.

Small boutique chocolatiers may offer tours or tastings at their places of business where you’ll get to see how things are made and talk with the chocolate experts.

If you’re on your own, when considering a chocolate bar take a moment to review the ingredients. Leave any bar that has fillers like high-fructose corn syrup, anything hydrogenized or artificial flavors behind.

$7+ for a chocolate bar is a far throw from my childhood favorite of a large Hershey’s bar *with almonds* stored in the freezer but that’s what a lot of bars are going for these days. Here are a few choices that I think are pretty terrific and won’t break the bank (and one that will):

Scharffen Berger 68% Dark, any of Dagoba Organic’s Single Origin Darks, Lindt Excellence 70% (available at most grocery stores for just a couple bucks), Chocolove Darks, and Trader Joe’s Single Origin Darks.

Bumping up a notch on the price point and down on the percentage of cacao, Vosges produces some really different combo bars that people simply rave about. For example, Mo's Bacon Bar: applewood smoked bacon + alderwood smoked salt + deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao or Black Pearl: ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds + dark chocolate, 55% cacao.

If you are serious about tasting chocolate (maybe even hosting a chocolate tasting party) check out this “how-to-taste chocolate” website. There’s more to it than taking a bite, chewing and swallowing.

Here’s a very extensive chocolate bar review and information website – the Chocolate Bar Database. They have all sorts of information on hundreds of chocolate bars and chocolatiers. Gee, I wonder if they are hiring?? :>

Make every day “Valentine’s-like”. Eat dark chocolate…your heart and your head will thank you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Love ya!

Watch the latest RV Cooking Show - Romantic Jekyll Island Retreat and Champagne Shrimp

PS – Make your own “sinful” hot fudge…watch this Valentine’s Day episode – RV Cooking Show’s Romantic RV Escapes and Sinful Hot Fudge.

Let me know how it turns out…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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