My love affair with chocolate began when I was less than a year old. Both my parents are chocolate lovers and have passed on their sweet tooth. I’ve been known to use Hershey’s bars to draw on the crib (that’s when cribs were still made of wood). I’ve never been able to resist chocolate and being a diabetic has made the last 11 years such an ordeal. The sugar-free varieties don’t taste quite as good and indulgence have some unpleasant side effects. I’ve found that I can have some of the good stuff if I eat it like French women do, just a piece or two at a time.
October 28 is the day America celebrates all things chocolate. National Chocolate Day was created by the National Confectioners Association. Americans eat 2.8 billion pounds of candy each year and nearly half of this is chocolate. I’m sure I don’t need to convince anyone that this is a day worth celebrating. Anyway, I’m looking forward to this evening because I have a couple slices of chocolate cheesecake waiting in the fridge. Chocolate marries so well with cheesecake, two of my favorite foods.
What are some ways to celebrate this special day? There are a number of movies like The Chocolate War, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Like Water for Chocolate, and Chocolat. Or borrow a romance novel or cozy mystery with chocolate like The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet, Chaos and Chocolate Mousse, or Dying for Chocolate. For a more sophisticated outing, how about a chocolate and wine pairing event? And if you happen to be in Pennsylvania, a trip to Hershey Park would be something the whole family can enjoy. There’s a free chocolate tour at the factory and you can shop at Hershey’s Chocolate World.
Today is also the perfect day to experiment and try a new variety of chocolate. There are so many to try including some with unusual flavors like chili pepper, sea salt, or pomegranate. You can also try making your own chocolate bar at home. Commercial chocolate can be full of artificial flavors, hydrogenated oils, preservatives and loaded with sugar. Some inexpensive chocolates are even blended with food-grade wax. Nevertheless, homemade bars will ensure that you use unadulterated ingredients and in my case, I want to experiment in making sugar-free, or lower-sugar chocolates for my consumption.
Why does chocolate make us feel so good? There are many theories behind it. One I especially like is chocolate melts in our mouth (because it contains cocoa butter), at around 93 o F, about the same as our body temperature. This melting can cause a more intense, longer-lasting buzz than kissing. There’s so many interesting facts about chocolate you can find on the internet. Want to check your chocolate IQ? Check out this Chocolate Quiz on WebMd.