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The World's Perfect Food








By John Guida, New York Times

Milk chocolate, dark chocolate — or not enough chocolate?

You might still be gorging on Halloween Twix bars or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but according to two of the world’s largest chocolate makers, Mars Inc. and the Switzerland-based Barry Callebaut, your candy bowl might be a lot more bare around 2020.

“They cite a perfect storm of factors: Less cocoa is being produced as more and more people are devouring chocolate,” says Catherine Garcia at The Week.

And you might already be paying more for your favorite chocolate bar, with Hershey’s the first maker to raise prices, according to Roberto A. Ferdman at The Washington Post. “The predicted forecast of consumption from Asia, India, China, Nigeria, Vietnam South Africa — i.e., the hot growth spots — are rising at an alarming rate, Angus Kennedy,  the editor of Kennedy’s Confection magazine, a British authority on chocolate and the global confection industry, told Op-Talk. “Nigeria at 217 percent, for example.” 

Chocolate is also known for its healthful, in addition to its irresistible, qualities, such as aiding in memory, as Pam Belluck points out at The New York Times.

But while they’re still scrumptious, Mr. Kennedy points out that some chocolate products are changing their shape and taste. Consumers are getting less chocolate for their dollar, he says: “I call for an industry standard 100 gram chocolate bar, like a liter of wine or pint of beer. We must have standards with minimum chocolate levels to protect the consumers around the globe.”

He adds that we are buying “more packaging and less chocolate,” as well as non-chocolate ingredients in our chocolate such as nuts, almonds, raisins — not to mention lots of sugar. “My prediction is that they will develop more fake type chocolate products for the new markets.”

Why is less cocoa being produced? Some observers suggest that climate change has something to do with it, especially in Africa, where the majority of cocoa is grown.

“Dry weather in West Africa (specifically in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced) has greatly decreased production in the region,” says Mr. Ferdman. “A nasty fungal disease known as frosty pod hasn’t helped either.”

Dean Baker, at the Center for Economic and Policy Research blog, sees global warming as a probable culprit in reduced chocolate production. Perhaps, he says, rising prices are a “global warming tax on chocolate” and asks, “when we get people crying tears over the harm that will be done to people if carbon taxes or other restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions raise their energy prices, we have to ask where are their tears when people pay higher prices for chocolate or other foods due to the effects of global warming?”

Others have mentioned Ebola as a possible culprit. But according to a statement from the International Cocoa Organization,  Ebola has had no or little impact, pointing to the countries with the most severe outbreak: “It is noted that harvesting and shipping of cocoa in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been seriously curtailed. However, combined cocoa production in these three countries represents about 0.7 percent of global output and is likely to have a minor bearing on the global cocoa market.”

In the near-term, some observers are pointing out that reports of chocolate’s shortfall might be premature. According to the International Cocoa Organization, there is actually a surplus of 40,000 tons of cocoa in 2014.

So whether it’s today or 2020, when is a chocolate shortage a good thing? Symbolically, says Anne Steele at The Christian Science Monitor, the world’s insatiable appetite for chocolate “means more and more people can afford it. In a way, chocolate — as a luxury item — is an indicator of a growing world middle class.”

And much of that growth is in Asian countries, especially India and China. “The Chinese are buying more and more chocolate each year,” Mr. Ferdman writes at The Post. “Still, they only consume per capita about 5 percent of what the average Western European eats. There’s also the rising popularity of dark chocolate, which contains a good deal more cocoa by volume than traditional chocolate bars (the average chocolate bar contains about 10 percent, while dark chocolate often contains upward of 70 percent).”

Nevertheless, as Mr. Kennedy says, we are not going to run out of chocolate anytime soon: “The market will become more divided, more expensive chocolates will flourish as people believe it to be a bigger luxury and a splash out in cash.” 

“Cocoa could be the new gold!” he says.

“It’s officially the U.S.’s favorite flavor,” he concludes, and offers words for chocolate lovers to live by: “My motto is, don’t buy chocolate to be healthy. Stay healthy so you can eat chocolate!”


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: You heard it first here! Start hoarding NOW against the day when chocolate supplies are scarce - a great piece of advice to end this scrumptious series!

~Your Editor and Fellow Chocolate Lover


By Rachel Tepper, HuffPost Food

A new Guinness World Record was recently set in Belgium by Maltese master chocolatier Andrew Farrugia, who unveiled the world’s longest chocolate structure at Brussels Chocolate Week.

Farrugia’s creation was a detailed steam-powered locomotive, rendered in 2,755 pounds of Belgian chocolate, that stretched 111.5 feet (34 meters) long and took 784 hours to complete. Farrugia explained how he thought up the concept to several press outlets:

“I had this idea for a while, and I said what do you think if we do this realization of a long chocolate train, you know, because a train you can make it as long as you like... Actually it was going to be much smaller than it was, but I kept on adding another wagon, and another wagon, and it’s the size it is today.”



The train’s many components include seven wagons modeled after modern Belgian trains. The remaining trains recall Belgium’s older train wagons, including one with a bar and restaurant.

Most of the structure was constructed in Farrugia’s home country, but the world record almost wasn’t — many pieces were damaged in transit to Brussels. Farrugia managed to reconstruct the trouble spots in time for the train’s debut.

Sky News shares that the train will be displayed at various chocolate museums in Belgium and at the Brussel’s train museum in comming days.

For more amazing chocolate structures go  FFENGER FORUMS





By Julie Grenness

Listen, girls, it's time to stop stalling,
Can you hear? It's chocolate calling,
It's midnight, not even morning,
Listen it's chocolate calling,
Creep through the house,
Quiet as a mouse,
You've bought a box for your mother,
Well, you can buy her another,
Shhhh, don't tell anyone,
Unwrap chocolate number one,
Eat me, please!
So what for fat hips and knees,
Do you hear? Time to stop stalling,
Listen girls, it's chocolate calling . . .  .


By Lonely, sad girl

Dear Haagen Dazs:
Why you lie?
Why you say there's three servings,
When everyone knows, it's only one?
Rude, Haagen Dazs.
Just Rude.


By Sonali Sethi

I'm waiting for my mother
I twiddle my thumbs idlly
I'm trying to look away from
The chocolate bar that's staring at me

"Look at me!" It whispers softly
I'm struggling to avert my eyes
"You'll feel better when you eat me" it says
With an effort, I ignore its lies

I walk around the chocolate shop
Like a predator circling it's prey
This temptation is just too great!
My feet can't seem to walk away

"Eat me! Eat me!" The chocolate chants
Someone save me from this torture!  
"Don't leave me all alone" it says
I can't take this anymore

Suddenly, my phone rings
My mother has finally arrived!
I turn my my back on the chocolate
My face glows with pride

I didn't succumb to my desire
I did it! I resisted!
I held on, I stayed strong
Even when the chocolate insisted

I smile as I reach the car
I'll tell my mother about my ordeal
I think of how proud she'll be
And of how happy I will feel

But before I utter a single word,
She hands a packet, beaming wide
She says "look what I got for you!"
I can't wait to see what's inside!

A prize for resisting temptation?
Oooh! What could it be?
I open the packet and look inside
And a big fat chocolate stares back at me!


By Swetank Modi

You wrote me chocolate poems once
And asked if the words
Would melt on my tongue
When I spoke them aloud
Would their sweet taste
Linger only as long
As it took for me to say I loved them
Would the verses run together
And make a muddied mess of emotion
That quickly faded
I just laughed at the thought of it
These chocolate poems
Not understanding what you meant
That all you thought you were doing
Was feeding me sugar sentiments
Candy coated love
That I would eat up
And never think of again
So I ask you this
as I pull your chocolate poems
Out of the drawer I kept them in
for all these years
Do you think they have melted?


By Kelly Michelle

Mmmmm...chocolate..what you do to me..
How my body responds and stirs to be free..

the knowing a bite..
just wouldn't be right..

I can feel "the pull" from down to my soul..
I want just to taste and let it unroll..

the sign says stop!
this vice you must drop!

But dark sweetness already, has passed my lips..
The hungry place consumes it, control now slips..

Don't care to miss..
One moment of bliss..

I've drifted so far from my cares and my goals..
I've forgotten my name or who pays the tolls..

of my delite..
in just one night..

For the whole pan is gone? There are no more?!
Its done....In bewilderment I drop to the floor..

Chocolate brownies, damn!
You got me again!


By Tim Smith

knew this day would come
When I'd lose you from my sight
I won't be able to devour you
I'll miss that scrumptious bite

Seems everyday you were there for me
You were my afternoon delight
So rich, nutty, and delicious
I should have held you tight

I feel so down without you
My senses are getting numb
You gave me such a pick me up
To your pleasure I'd succumb

I see you through the window
With my sad and longing eyes
I crave just one taste of you
Can't you hear my heartfelt cries

This machine won’t take my quarters
I've tried again and again
I need you, my snickers bar
Anyone got change for a ten

By Pam Deremer

Driving down the road going mile after mile

I couldn't help but remember your beautiful smile.
My job keeps me gone most of the time
so you got a job at the local five-n-dime.
I tell her...

I love you more than chocolate...
your kisses taste so sweet.
I can hardly wait to get back home,
you make my life complete.

My trucker friends all laugh at me.
They think I've lost my mind
cause I use to see a lot of gals,
but left that all behind.

One look from her was all it took,
to set my heart ablaze.
Now I'm no longer searching
or walking in a daze...cause

I love her more than chocolate...
her kisses taste so sweet.
I can hardly wait to get back home,
she makes my life complete.

When time goes by and we grow old,
on the porch we'll sit...
I'll take your hand...hold it close...then kiss you on the lips.
Tell you how much I cherish you...
this life I wouldn't miss...cause

I love you more than chocolate...
your kisses taste so sweet.
I can hardly wait to start each day.
You've made my life complete.




By Loni Perry in Food, Travel

The world has been enamored by chocolate since around 1100 BC, when it was first cultivated by the Mesoamericans. Here are the top 5 travel destinations for chocoholics- there are no better places on earth to sample some of the best chocolate in the world:

5. San Francisco, California
The Bay Area is home to one of the oldest chocolate manufacturers in the United States, making it a destination for many chocolate lovers. As in New York, chocolate tours are a great way to take in San Francisco’s best chocolate shops. You can also step back in history wandering through Ghirardelli Square, which was originally built as an expansion of the old Ghirardelli chocolate factory.

Best Chocolate Shops
Ghirardelli Chocolate was founded during the California Gold Rush by Domenico Ghirardelli and has grown to become as much a part of San Francisco as the trolley car or the Golden Gate Bridge. Scherffen Berger was the first company in America to completely create their chocolate from bean to bar and they offer free tours of their factory six times a day. Other shops worth checking out include Michael Recchiuti, XOX Truffle, Richart San Francisco, Cocoa Bella, TCHO, Coco-Luxe and Christopher Elbow Artisinal Chocolates.


4. Oaxaca, Mexico
The ancient Mesoamericans were the world’s first chocolatiers and Mexico has continued to produce chocolate ever since. Today in Oaxaca, residents have embraced chocolate as a part of their culture and it seems visitors to the city can’t walk down the street without being offered chocolate in some form, whether it is hot chocolate, chocolate pastry or chocolate candy.  While there are major chocolate producers based here, a lot of Oaxaca’s chocolate is made with old family recipes the old-fashioned way, ground either by hand or with electric grinders and mixed by hand.

Best Chocolate Shops
Located on the street 20 de Noviembre are the three largest chocolate producers in the city, Moyordomo, Guelaguetza and La Soledad. On Mina Street, as well as 20 de Noviembre, you can check out barrels of cocoa beans in almost every doorway. You can also find vendors peddling their handmade chocolate treats at any of the markets in the city.


3. Barcelona, Spain
The Spanish were the first Europeans to experience chocolate that was brought back from the New World, and Barcelona has been a center for chocolate lovers ever since. Among its chocolate-covered achievements, the city can boast that the first chocolate making machine was built there in 1780. Today Barcelona celebrates its rich chocolate heritage with a museum dedicated to chocolate, the Museo de La Xocolata, which features everything from chocolate sculptures to hot chocolate.

Best Chocolate Shops
Over the years Barcelona has produced some of the finest chocoltiers in the world such as Antoni Amatller and Simon Coll. Their shops, Chocolates Amatller and Chocolate a la Taza, are still producing fine chocolates more than 150 years after they first opened their doors. Other shops to take in include Dulcinea, Fargas and Pasteleria Escriba all of which have been open since the early 1900s.


2. Zurich, Switzerland
Switzerland consumes more chocolate per person that any other country, and with world-renowned companies like Cailler-Nestle, Toblerone, Lindt, Treuscher and Sprungli calling it home it’s no wonder. Zurich is the heart of chocolate production in the country and Lindt, Treuscher and Sprungli all have factories and stores in the city. For a truly unique experience, the Swiss Travel System, along with Cailler-Nestle, offers an excursion on “The Swiss Chocolate Train.” The train departs from Montreux and makes a stop in Gruyeres (where Gruyere cheese is made) before finally arriving in Broc where guests get a tour of the Cailler-Nestle factory.

Best Chocolate Shops
Treuscher, Lindt and Spungli can be found just about everywhere as can local favorite Frey. However in Lindt’s case visiting their factory store can save 10-20% and you can also buy half-price chocolates that were rejected because of improper packaging or other flaw. Some great chocolate boutiques in Zurich include Truffe, Schrober and Merkur.


1. Brussels, Belgium
The entire country of Belgium is a chocoholic’s paradise, boasting 12 chocolate factories, 16 chocolate museums and more than 2,100 chocolate shops. Brussels, however, stands above the rest. The city is home to two of the biggest chocolate companies in the world, Godiva and Leonidas, as well as many smaller chocolate boutiques. While all kinds of chocolate treats can be found in Brussels, pralines are king. In fact, they were first created there by Jean Neuhaus in 1912. If you visit Brussels, make sure you go to the Musee du Cocao et du Chocolate where you can learn how chocolate is made.

Best Chocolate Shops

The “Chocolate Capital of the World,” Brussels is filled with chocolate shops. Grand Sablon, a small square in the heart of the city, houses some of the best- it is home to Wittamer, Pierre Marcolini, Neuhaus, Godiva, Leonidas and Zaabar. No trip to Brussels would be complete without a visit to Mary, which was founded in 1919 and has been a favorite of the Belgian Royal Family since 1942.



Unbeknownst to most of us, chocolate-related crimes occur day after day, all over the world. Below follows an account of several of the more outrageous!!!

Sweden Gripped in Chocolate Crime Wave

LEAVE IT TO THE SWEDES to have the most twee crime spree ever. In February 2015, criminals made off with almost a thousand dollars worth of chocolate in three separate raids.. One shop owner believes "there is a market for buying chocolate bars and dividing them up into pick-and-mix pieces.”


Airplane Passenger Gets Into Fight with Stewardess Over Chocolate

ON A FLIGHT to Bulgaria, a passenger was filmed flipping out on a flight attendant for refusing to sell her a bar of chocolate. Other passengers finally intervened after the argument began to get physical.


Man Punches 78 Year Old in Costco Over Nutella

A 78-YEAR-OLD Costco shopper in California said he was punched in the face by a 24-year-old male after complaining to him about taking too many Nutella samples. The grandfather suffered a one inch gash in his face, and the 24-year-old bully was arrested.

$120,000 Worth of Chocolate and Armored Truck Stolen in Florida

IN FLORIDA a thief with a sweet tooth took off with an armored truck full of more than $120,000 worth of Hershey’s chocolate.


Hackers Change a Recipe on Hershey's Website

IN 2011, hackersoke into Hershey's website, not to steal user info, but to change one of the recipes. Possible reasons behind the hack are believed to be corporate sabotage or just some keyboard cowboys in the mood for a ride through chocolate country.


The Big Three Chocolate Manufacturers Come Under Scrutiny for Price Fixing


IN 2013 a chocolate scandal revealed treachery at the highest levels of the cocoa markets when the big three chocolate companies (Nestle, Mars, and Hershey's) and a slew of independent marketers were indicted for the price-fixing of popular chocolate bars in Canada.


Stowaway Almost Drowns in Tank of Chocolate

IN EARLY 2015, a refugee from Syria, along with seven others, stowed away on a truck filled warm chocolate bound for the UK. After more than two hours stuck in a vat of hot chocolate syrup, he and the others decided to escape rather than drown in the delicious confection.

£65,000 Worth of Chocolate Stolen in Yorkshire


JUST IN TIME for Christmas in 2014, thieves took off with £65,000 worth of Harrogate fudge and chocolate. A spokesperson for the North Yorkshire Police said, "If you have been offered any chocolates matching description of the ones which were stolen in unusual circumstances, I urge you to come forward and contact the police straight away."

Trio Is Charged with Conspiracy to Steal Chocolate Milk

IN CORTLANDVILLE, NY a trio of thieves was charged with forming a conspiracy to swipe a case of chocolate milk from a truck while it was making deliveries. The milk thieves were caught and all three were charged with petit larceny and conspiracy.


Yakuza Arrested for Smuggling Drugs in Chocolate

IN SEPTEMBER 2015, Tokyo Police arrested two members of the Yakuza crime syndicate who allegedly tried to smuggle a pair of boxes of chocolate containing two kilograms of stimulants from China.


Man Tries to Smuggle $250,000 of Meth as Chocolate-Coated Snickers Bars

IN 2012, Rogelio Mauricio Harris was arrested for trying to sneak four pounds of meth onto a plane bound for Japan. His plan? The meth was hidden in 45 individually wrapped Snickers bars.


Dairy Queen Employees Beat a Pregnant Woman Over a Blizzard

WHILE ON A ROAD TRIP from California to Illinois, a pregnant woman and her husband went through the drive through of a New Mexico DQ, and when her Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzard wasn't prepared correctly she went inside to get the employees to remake it. Instead of remaking the chocolatey treat, the employees kicked her out of the restaurant and started beating her up.



By Shelby Vittek

Who says you can’t have chocolate for dinner? I don’t mean devouring half a dozen Twix bars and counting it as a meal. Polishing off an entire carton of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream by yourself doesn’t count either. I’m talking about using chocolate as an element in a savory dish. Yes, chocolate playing the role of something besides sweet.

* * * * * * *

When cooking with chocolate, it helps to think of it as an ordinary ingredient as you would butter or cumin. Allow it to become a culinary tool and take a starring role in savory dishes. “Using it is a lot like adding Worcestershire sauce to a dish,” said Ally Zeitz, coordinator of the Drexel Food Lab. “The chocolate stays in the background.”

Feel free to be adventurous with chocolate at the dinner table, but be careful. A little goes goes a long way. You don’t want it to overpower the other elements of the meal. Just like adding salt, a light hand is key when preparinga dish with chocolate. You actually don’t want to be able to identify it as a main ingredient. Instead, you want the chocolate to complement existing textures and flavors. If you have too many sweet notes in a dish with chocolate, it will taste more like you melted Hershey’s syrup over your dinner. But when done well, chocolate can elevate the smoky and spicy tastes of a dish.

Recently, Zeitz experimented with chocolate as an ingredient, developing recipes that called for bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, and Mexican chocolate. She recreated an Italian eggplant caponata using chocolate to enrich the dish’s sauce. Her chocolate lamb ragu didn’t taste chocolately at all. The chocolate blended into the tomato sauce wasn’t noticeable, but it left a recognizable creamy mouthfeel on the finish. And her savory cocoa dinner rolls, made with cocoa powder and goat cheese, weren’t the least bit sweet. They showed bitter notes similar to pumpernickel bread and were smooth and rich. These chocolate-inspired creations made me wonder why I’ve never experimented with the complex nuances that cocoa carries before.

Whoever once told you that eating chocolate for dinner is not allowed was a liar. It’s totally safe and acceptable to explore the savory side of chocolate and upgrade your dishes with a taste of cacao.

Recipes can be found on FENGER FORUMS at the following link:




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Discover the benefits of chocolate through beauty products.

The properties of chocolate are rich and varied. It contains proteins, minerals, vitamins and amino acids. All these active ingredients make of it an excellent moisturizing, purifying and antioxidant agent. Moreover, the smell of cocoa care provides an instant good-mood feeling!

Boost the beauty of your skin thanks to chocolate, and all this without gaining an ounce!

Note that even if the cosmetics spread a pleasant chocolate scent, they are not edible. Do not be too greedy...




By Michelle Yeomans    

According to the company, the color cosmetics range is inspired by the world of “fine quality chocolate,” balancing sweetness with bitterness through colors, textures and aromas.

It is the latest launch to have been influenced by the “sweet treats” beauty tread, where confectionery aromas are bringing a sensory element to color cosmetics.

The four colors eyeshadow compact resembles a small chocolate box, “Lunasol Selection De Chocolat Eyes,” and is inspired by dark, raisin and white chocolate while the two-eyeshadow palette comes in three colors—resembling pistachios, raspberries or oranges.

Research firm, Gama recently reported that through creative innovation, producers of color cosmetics may stand to benefit from placing more emphasis on “scent and indulgence” within a range of make-up categories, as consumers hone in on multi-sensory benefits and begin to demand more from their beauty purchases than pure aesthetic value.

According to Gama’s analysts, the range has been released alongside a chocolate-scented nail polish and resembles an actual bar of chocolate, available in three “flavours:” Cherry Truffle, Cacao Fudge, and Salted Carmel and is marketed with a list of 10 “reasons” as to why the consumer might deserve a chocolate “gift.”

Other beauty products inspired by this chocolate concept includes the launch of “Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Collection”, a product which featured the smell of sweet chocolate and a formulation pigmented with pure, antioxidant-rich cocoa powder, which also featured a “chocolate bar” graphic on the packaging.

Meanwhile, precursors to “Etude House Give Me Chocolate” nail polish includes Revlon’s Parfumerie Scented Nail Enamel, which boasted intoxicating colors, irresistible scents  in varieties such as Chocolate Truffle.



(No author listed)

Hah! That title got your attention. Who out there doesn’t love chocolate? Admittedly, there are a few who just don’t care for it, but they’re at the tail end of the bell curve. Me, I’m way way on the other side of the bell curve, where I just LOVE chocolate.

While we lived in Europe we enjoyed the German Ritter Sport chocolate and thought that was just great. We also loved going to coffee shops (most notably in eastern Europe) and ordering hot chocolate, which was pretty much just melted chocolate. But it was only after we moved to Berkeley that we got a real chocolate education.

Matt is in the Wine Club at his school, which means he gets to go to special events and drink wine. Not a bad gig. One evening there was a speaker from Kallari Chocolate. Though the website isn’t spectacular, their business is to be sustainable in both agriculture and culture from indigenous Latin American farmers. They don’t have any high-paid executives; their money all goes to the cooperatives that make their chocolate. So let me tell you a little bit about how chocolate is normally made.

Cacao comes from a specific orchid in tropical regions of the earth. Just as wine grapes have good growing regions, so does cacao. Once cacao pods are plucked, they’re split open, fermented and dried. If they’re under-fermented, they taste like potatoes. If they’re over-fermented, they taste like poop. You know who buys Kallari’s over-fermented cacao beans? Yup, Hershey’s. Don’t savor that too long or else the sugar flavor might just give way to nastiness (just kidding, I’ve never tasted poop in their chocolate, just general non-chocolatiness). After they’re dried, if they’re not processed on site, they’re then packaged in bags, put on big cargo ships, fumigated at US ports, and then distributed to US chocolate producers. So if you want un-fumigated chocolate–bars that have been made and wrapped in foil before going through customs–go with chocolate that wasn’t made in the US. It can be a US brand, just see where the chocolate is actually produced.

Pure cacao solids aren’t sweet or savory on their own, so to make it a dessert, some other ingredients have to be added. Some kind of sweetener and vanilla are pretty much staples on any kind of chocolate. Milk is a common ingredient that dulls down the chocolate flavor and makes chocolate cheaper to produce (about 20 pods make just one pound of chocolate). Since I’m currently sensitive to milk, and prefer my chocolate dark, I opt for the dairy-free chocolate brands.

Another ingredient that is almost impossible to keep out of packaged goods is soy lecithin. On the trendier chocolates, they indicate “non-GMO” or “organic,” and they tell you that soy lecithin is used as an emulsifier (helps bring together two normally incompatible things into one even mixture). Ah, so it’s “needed” as an emulsifier…meaning I can’t find chocolate without it, right? Wrong. Do you know what else is a great emulsifier? Cocoa butter. That’s right! A product that also comes right from the cacao pod. So why do most companies use soy lecithin instead of cacao butter? Because the cosmetic industry LOVES being able to put “Made with cocoa butter” on their packages. The chocolate manufacturers make significantly more money selling cocoa butter to the cosmetic industry than they would if they just put it back into the chocolate bar. So when you see “soy lecithin” as an ingredient on your chocolate bar, know that it’s lower quality than one without.

And a word about the cacao-producing regions. The main regions are Latin America, different parts of continental Africa, and various equatorial islands (Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, etc). Now consider the orchid plant from which cacao is derived: this plant is happiest in wet, fertile regions. The locations listed fit that bill, except for continental Africa. Continental Africa doesn’t have a lot of wet, fertile regions that can be cultivated with orchids, and therefore the chocolate from those regions suffer. Unfortunately, roughly 2/3 of the world’s chocolate comes from continental Africa, and consequently, to make African chocolate palatable, you have to add lots of sugar and other ingredients to mask the lack of flavor. In taste testings I’ve done with high-quality chocolate (just cacao solids, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla), I’ve always been able to identify the chocolates from Africa by their sandy texture and non-rich flavor.

So, how do you find great chocolate? Here’s how:

  1. Look for 4 ingredients: cacao solids, sugar, cocoa butter (no soy lecithin), vanilla. Other natural ingredients for flavor are acceptable.
  2. Choose chocolate that has been manufactured on site, not in the US, unless you really like having fumigated chocolate.
  3. Find chocolate whose beans were grown in Latin America or an equatorial island.
  4. Look for “Organic” and “Free Trade.” If you don’t care about that, then ignore this item, but they’re important to me. The term “Free Trade” really doesn’t mean much, just that they’re doing the bare minimum for their workers. Ideally, the company can tell you about the cooperative that provided the chocolate, indicating a close relationship with the farmers.
  5. Expect to pay more. This is quality stuff you’re looking for, you can’t expect to buy a Porsche for the price of a Toyota.


(Click on the festival's name for details.)



  • Annual Chocolate Fest
    October 14 – 15, 2016
    751 Alameda de las Pulgas; Belmont, CA 94002; (650) 593-4547



















Author: Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer

Myth: Chocolate is high in caffeine.
Fact: While eating chocolate may perk you up, chocolate is actually not very high in caffeine. A 1.4-ounce chocolate bar or an 8-ounce glass of chocolate milk both contain 6 mg of caffeine, the same amount as a cup of decaffeinated coffee. (For reference, regular coffee contains about 65-135mg of caffeine.)

Myth: Chocolate is loaded with saturated fat and is bad for your cholesterol.
Fact: Stearic acid, the main saturated fat found in milk chocolate, is unique. Research has shown that it doesn’t raise cholesterol levels the same way that other types of saturated fats do. In fact, eating a 1.4 ounce chocolate bar instead of a carbohydrate-rich snack has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Myth: Chocolate lacks any nutritional value.
Fact: Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. It also contains polyphenols (an antioxidant also found in tea and red wine) that have been associated with a decreased risk of coronary disease. An average chocolate bar contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a 5-ounce glass of red wine.

A daily serving of dark chocolate, which contains more antioxidants than milk chocolate, can also help lower blood pressure and improve insulin resistance according to a joint study between Tufts University in Boston and the University of L’Aquila in Italy. The findings do not suggest that people with high blood pressure consume dark chocolate in lieu of taking their prescribed medication, but that the flavonoids in dark chocolate may have a positive effect on blood pressure and insulin resistance.

Myth: Chocolate causes cavities.
Fact: Candy alone is not responsible for cavities. Cavities are formed when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars and starches from any type of food (soda, candy, juice, bread, rice and pasta) to produce acid. This acid then eats through the enamel of the tooth, causing cavities.

The protein, calcium and phosphate content of milk chocolate may actually protect tooth enamel, and its naturally-occurring fat content means that chocolate clears the mouth faster than other candy, reducing the amount of time its sugars remain in contact with tooth surfaces.

Regular fluoride use, proper oral hygiene to remove fermentable carbohydrate residue and the application of plastic sealants can all help prevent the formation of cavities—whether you avoid chocolate or not.

Myth: Chocolate causes headaches.
Fact: While sited as a common cause of migraines, a study by the University of Pittsburgh has shown no link between chocolate and headaches. The results of that double-blind study of 63 participants known to suffer chronic headaches were published in the neurology journal Cephalalgia. Chronic headaches were once thought to be caused by amines in foods (including histamine and beta-phenylethylamine) such as cheddar cheese, peanuts, cured meats, chocolate and alcohol, but this study eliminated chocolate as a possible headache cause.

Myth: Chocolate causes acne.
Fact: Regardless of what your parents or grandparents may still say, studies in the past twenty years have eliminated chocolate as a cause of acne. In fact, many dermatologists doubt that diet plays any significant role in the development of acne. Acne is now believed to be caused by a combination of high bacterial levels and oil on the skin. For more information about the causes and treatment of acne.

Myth: Chocolate causes weight gain.
Fact: Any food can be part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation. An average chocolate bar contains 220 calories, which is low enough to be a part of a weight control diet if other high-calorie foods are eliminated. Enjoying the occasional piece of chocolate may reduce the risk of severe bingeing, which can occur when you feel deprived of your favorite foods.

Chocolate’s bad reputation is slowly changing and research now shows that chocolate can be a part of an overall healthy lifestyle, when consumed in moderation. If you keep your portion sizes small and select dark chocolate whenever possible, the occasional treat can be a guilt-free part of your diet.



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Author: Christopher Jobson on August 13, 2014

Illustrator and designer Akihiro Mizuuchi designed a modular system for creating edible chocolate LEGO bricks. Chocolate is first poured into precisely designed moulds that after cooling can be popped out and used as regular LEGOs.

It’s hard to determine exactly how functional they are, it seems like he had success in building a number of different things, though I can only imagine how quickly they might melt in your hands, but I suppose that’s beside the point; this is two of the greatest things in the world fused together.
If you google around there are numerous attempts at creating various forms of LEGO in chocolate or other food, but this appears to be the most detailed and well-designed of anything out there. (via Legosaurus)

By Zoe Bain, Aug 19, 2014

After seeing designer Akihiro Mizucchi's absolutely brilliant take on Legos, we feel our own childhood building projects were severely lacking. Because all those Lego castles, trucks, and the like could have been made out of chocolate. While chocolate Legos aren't for sale just yet, Mizucchi did some building with the edible blocks and seemed to do just fine. We're guessing the toughest part, other than issues with melting, is not eating all of the Legos before you get a chance to actually make something!

Photos Credit: Akihiro Mizucchi/Behance




By Kathleen Doheny, Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on July 01, 2011, WebMD News Archive

Drinking low-fat chocolate milk after a workout helps endurance, builds muscle, reduces fat, and seems to improve performance, according to new research. The drink seems to have the right combination of carbohydrates and protein, says researcher John L. Ivy, PhD, department chair of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas at Austin.

"When recovering from exercise, two things you want to do is replenish sugar stores in the muscle and turn on protein synthesis and stop protein breakdown," Ivy tells WebMD. "The combination of carbohydrate and protein [found in chocolate milk] work synergistically to do those two things," he tells WebMD.

The low-fat chocolate milk beat out two other drinks tested -- a no-calorie beverage and a carbohydrate drink with no protein.

Ivy's research is published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and the Journal ofNutrition and Metabolism. He also presented the findings at the American College of Sports Medicine Meeting in Denver in June. The research was funded by the National Dairy Council and the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board.

In one of two studies, Ivy had 10 well-trained cyclists exercise over two hours to the point of fatigue. They then drank either the milk drink, the carb drink, or the no-calorie beverage right after the workout and then two hours later. After four hours the cyclist did a 40K cycling time trial.

"The individuals, when they had received the chocolate milk, performed the time trials significantly faster," he says. They shaved six minutes off their time when they drank the chocolate milk compared to the carb drink. The chocolate milk, he says, activates the proteins that block protein breakdown. This preserves protein and muscle, helping the recovery process.

In a second study, Ivy trained 32 untrained people, having them cycle 60 minutes a day, five days a week, for 4.5 weeks. He gave one group the chocolate milk right after exercise and one hour later. He gave a second group the carb drink and a third the placebo no-calorie drink.

They looked at maximum oxygen uptake, a measure of aerobic endurance. ''The improvement in maximum oxygen consumption was twice as great [in the milk drinkers] than in the carb or placebo group."

"We also found individuals receiving the milk tended to have a greater increase in lean body mass and greater reduction in body fat."

Ivy says he was not trying to do a head-to-head comparison against sports drinks on the market. He says that sports drinks meant for use after workouts typically do contain protein. The chocolate milk tested, he says, has a better carb-protein mix than white milk. The chocolate milk used has about 11.5 grams of carbohydrates per 100 milliliters, 3.5 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fat. The carbohydrate drink he tested has 15 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat, and no protein.

Jennifer Schmit, a spokeswoman for Gatorade, did not comment directly on the research. However, she says that a sports recovery drink made by the company does contain protein. She notes that "it is important to take in 10-20g of protein within 30 minutes of exercise to start the muscle recovery process, as well as to replenish the carbohydrates and electrolytes lost during the workout."

The research findings make sense, says Barbara Lewin, RD, a sports nutritionist in Ft. Myers, Fla. She advises athletes on nutrition to improve their performance. She reviewed the findings for WebMD but was not involved in the research.

"I have been using it for a long time," she says. It's no surprise, she says, that the chocolate milk beat out the no-calorie beverage and the carbohydrate drink without protein. The inclusion of some protein in a post-workout drink does improve muscle repair and growth, she says. "This doesn't mean that protein shakes are the answer because carbohydrate is extremely important in the recovery process and in restoring glycogen (the stored source of energy in the muscles). However, a food that contains a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4:1 up to 5:1 does give more of an advantage than taking in 100% carbohydrate. This is what makes chocolate milk such an ideal choice. I usually recommend 1% or skim chocolate milk as the fat in the milk does not appear to provide any advantage.''

How much to drink, she says, depends on how hard you've worked out and your weight. She advises drinking about 8 to 16 ounces as a general guide. If you weigh 120 pounds and you've done a light workout, keep the calories around 120, she says. If it was a high-intensity workout, the calories can be double your weight, or about 240. For the average exerciser, Ivy recommends taking in about 50% of the calories you burned during a workout.




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A new study indicates that chocolate intake is directly related to better brain function.

A 1970s study showed people who eat chocolate at least once a week tend to perform better cognitively. Now Georgina Crichton, a nutrition researcher at the University of South Australia, has published a study that further details the effects of chocolate on the brain.

Crichton's study found that there were "significant positive associations" between chocolate intake and cognitive performance.

More specifically, consuming chocolate was significantly associated with superior "visual, spacial, memory and organization, working memory, and abstract reasoning." This superior functioning, as Crichton explains, translates into every day beneficial skills, such as "remembering a phone number or doing two things at once like talking and driving."

Translation: Eating a ton of chocolate doesn't transform you into Albert Einstein. But if you've been looking for an excuse to eat more chocolate, enhanced everyday brain activity is a pretty good one!