Lines to Love: For the Love of Chocolate
Debates have been had here at Whiskers On Kittens over coffee and tea, but if we were to pose the question which is best? to the world’s greatest detective, that mustachioed Belgian would smile softly and say,
Oh, mon ami, it is neither.
You see, dear readers, Hercule Poirot has deduced something very important. While coffee and tea are all well and good, it is the hot chocolate that is best. Chocolate is the apex of confectionery. It’s the secret ingredient which, when added, transforms the mundane to the supramundane. Transcendentalist and realists alike have been transported by it. Even philosopher poets have extolled it’s grandeur:
Or in the simple, humble, truthful words of English comedienne and author Jo Brand:
So, today, we’re feeding our little grey cells some wonderful lines to inspire us to eat more chocolate. Many of you may not need that nudge, but for those of you who are trying to embrace a healthy lifestyle, I need only remind you that a balanced life is having chocolate in both hands. (And, at the end of this post are several personal favorite recipes and a link or two to other recipes that you MUST try.)
Let’s start with this encouragement from Peanuts creator Charles Schulz:
So, love and chocolate… Perhaps that’s why so often we see them juxtaposed on Valentine’s Day. Or maybe there’s a more scientific reason that a day dedicated to love is full of chocolate, too.
Considering the four primary chemicals found in chocolate: theobromine (which is only one methyl group different from caffeine and produces much of the same stimulating effects), anandamide (which is a milder form of THC), phenylethylamine (which stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain), and sugar (which gives you that jolt of energy you need when you’re starting to drag), Mr. Levine might just be on to something there. Suffice it to say, chocolate contains many chemical properties- even in small dosages- that all combine to make you feel better. Indeed, it’s not your green, leafy cruciferous vegetable chock full of vitamins and minerals, but on that score, I believe Richard Paul Evans says it best:
Chocolate has been touted as a great many things. An aphrodisiac. A source of antioxidants. Not a cruciferous vegetable. Not a vegetable at all. Helps improve brain function. Lowers cholesterol. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. While all these claims may not be one hundred percent accurate, it should be noted how even in today’s culture chocolate is treated like a miracle pill. It can cure all ills. In fact, prior to the knowledge of chocolate, the world was riddled with tragedy. Don’t take my word for it; let American humorist and children’s author Sandra Boynton tell you:
Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the daily discipline of chocolate will help rid the world of such horrid tragedies as recounted in the annals of our classic literature. And, speaking of discipline, a topic we’ve touched on recently here at Whiskers On Kittens (see Adopt Discipline post here), I think it only right to highlight an example of someone exercising true fortitude and discipline:
Of course, there are times when exercising discipline feels more akin to exorcising demons. Exercising, for many, is horrid. Right up there with those tragedies recounted by Homer and the Bard. Well, if you’re one whose tennis shoes are gathering a fine layer of dust at the back of you closet, Charles Schulz approves:
But, if you’ve been responsible, and dragged yourself through grueling reps and brutal training at the gym, never fear. There’s a way you can apologize to your battered and bruised body.
Chocolate is the great elixir. The mender of all problems. The fulfillment of all dreams. After all, there’s a reason that Willy Wonka said these words regarding himself and his magical factory:
Chocolate stimulates your brain, thrills your taste buds, and kindles your passions. Shakespeare said If music be the food of love, play on. And since the owner of a chocolate factory said that he’s the maker of music, it is a completely logical deduction that chocolate is the food of love. We should all endeavor to fill the world with love, no? Well, then, If chocolate be the food of love, eat on, dear readers. Even the great Hercule Poirot would applaud. And, trust me, being Belgian, that little mustachioed man knows his chocolate. And now, I must leave you, but not after this blessing from Geraldine Solon:
I suppose by now you’re truly craving chocolate? But, unlike Juliet with her Romeo, I shall not leave thee so unsatisfied. Here are a few links to several recipes which I have tried and can attest- THEY’RE GREAT!
I made this recipe as a groom’s cake for a friend’s wedding way back when and it was positively delicious. The consistency on the icing was a trifle hard for me to master, but I attribute that to the humidity I contended with when I was making it. This cake- dubbed the best chocolate cake- is rich, moist, and flavorful.
Now, I’m not saying this is the actual recipe that our beloved Belgian used when he hankered for hot cocoa, but Katie Barrett over at the blog Literary Lunch put this recipe up in a post devoted to Hercule’s love of hot chocolate. And let me tell you, this recipe is decadent. The richness of this hot chocolate will depend on what percentage of chocolate you choose to grate. Ms. Barrett used 75% cacao, which is a rather dark chocolate. That is also my preference. But if you find dark chocolate too bitter for your tastes buds, you can certainly substitute a milk chocolate of your preference, or any chocolate with a lesser percentage of cacao. The way this recipe is written, this hot chocolate borders on sipping chocolate, which is precisely how I enjoy it. Regardless, it’s an exceptional recipe from a wonderful blogger.
If you do not wish to go to all the trouble of making your hot chocolate from scratch, I can definitely recommend two store bought hot cocoas that will satisfy your sweet tooth. The first is Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate. It’s decadent. A little goes a long way here. The second is more guilt free- Lankanto Drinking Chocolate. I’m usually leery of ‘no sugar’ sales pitches, but this mix uses monk fruit and erythritol to sweeten the brew, and I have found that those sweeteners don’t leave that horrid aftertaste one gets when drinking anything with stevia. If you really want to up your health game, I’d give Four Sigmatic Mushroom Hot Cacao a try.
And because I know there are those of you out there who really don’t want to compromise on your health conscious lifestyle, here’s a recipe for you from holistic practitioner and green living guru Dr. Hardick. I have tried this recipe and I promise you that it is a very good alternative if you want to satisfy a sweet craving without caving into the sugar and carbs. I didn’t use as much stevia as the recipe recommends because I don’t care for the flavor. I opted for coconut oil as I was out of ghee, as well. Rather than a blender, I used a food processor, but this will work well in a VitaMix.
And if you’re not in the mood to make a cake, or a cup of cocoa, or brownie balls, then head over to the organic section of your supermarket and pick up one of these amazing chocolate bars:
Haut Chocolat- Katrina Markoff was completely on the mark when she labeled her chocolate brand haut. These high end chocolates come in many shapes and sizes. Katrina is kind enough to list her favorites on her website, but don’t stop there. The petit gautaux are adorable, and the truffles are thing of beauty, but her chocolate bars are blends of exotic flavors and quality chocolate. I recommend the Smoked Salt Chocolate Bar and Manchego and Cherry Chocolate Bar.
Theo Chocolate is an fair trade company, dedicated to sustainability in their farming and business practices. Like Vosges, they are a boutique chocolate company. But, while their organic, fair trade chocolates comes in many different shapes, sizes, and exotic flavors, my favorite of them all is a rather simple affair- the 70% dark chocolate orange bar. Just the right mix of bitter and sweet.
This one is for all you healthy foodies out there. Here’s Good Day Chocolate’s slogan: We are supplement geeks with a chocolate obsession. That’s right. Good Day Chocolate makes their chocolate bars with actual supplements in them. There’s their calm chocolate infused with magnesium and chamomile flower extract. Then there’s the energy blend with taurine and green tea extract. And for all you anti-inflammatory fiends out there, there’s a turmeric chocolate as well. An added boon, this chocolate tastes great. Check them out.
But, just so you don’t think I’m some sort of chocolate snob over here, I must say, there is something thoroughly satisfying about a good old Hershey’s chocolate bar. Or kiss. I prefer the kisses.
When you crave chocolate, what is your chocolate of choice? Please, PLEASE, share. I just love kind new ways to eat chocolate.