15 Powerful reasons to eat chocolate
t’ will make old women young and fresh
Create new motions of the flesh
And cause them to long for you-know-what
When they but taste CHOC-O-LATE
William Wordsworth (1770-1850) British poet
Early Central American cultures worshipped and revered it, European ladies supped it during mass and the french aristocracy surmised in its amorous potentials. Chocolate or cacao has been in culinary and therapeutic use as far back as 1500BC were the Mayans used the seeds from Theobroma Cacao as currency.
In those days 3 cacao seeds could buy you an egg or splash out a tad and 12 seeds could buy you the attentions of the village strumpet.
Fortunately for us, Christopher Columbus was the adventurous type and in 1502 commandeered a canoe laden with the now infamous seeds and brought them back to the new world for all to surrender to its chocolate grandeur.
So at the risk of sounding superfluous to some certified granivorous choc-o-holics, I set out to discover whether we required any more reasons to eat chocolate other than it tastes delicious and came up with a few advantages that indeed make it vital for us to partake daily!
Not only will you be doing your heart a favor by nibbling on a square of dark rich heaven but it also helps to increase levels of “good cholesterol”, enhances brain function by improving blood flow to the brain and researchers have shown that eating dark chocolate can fight skin cancer.
Ultimately chocolate appears to be extremely beneficial to our skin with recent studies showing that dining on chocolate can improve skin quality and reduce wrinkles and even increase the skins natural SPF quality making it less vulnerable to sunburn. And speaking of skin, what of the supposed old wives tale that chocolate gives you pimples? I can joyfully proclaim that chocolate neither causes nor aggravates acne.
So far eating chocolate seems to be ticking all the boxes and couldn’t possibly go any higher on my daily things to do list but as Jack Ripely so coined the phrase “believe it or not” I challenge you to believe it, the food of the gods just keeps on getting better.
Certain times of the month can be tougher on the fairer sex with hormones raging and tempers flaring, chocolate helps to improve PMT symptoms.
Feeling a bit low and unhappy? Chocolate contains serotonin which is an anti-deppresant and is cheaper than seeing a therapists.
Need a bit of help with bedroom gymnastics? Chocolate contains the natural chemical compound phenylethylamine that produces similar feelings to falling in love, increases libido and caffeine is also found in chocolate which will help to keep the energy levels going…and going.
“Who needs love, I’d rather eat Chocolate” as stated by one true chocolate aficionado, none other than Mr. Willy Wonka-
What of the health benefits? , Its delicious and that’s all that most people need to know. But surely some of you may be thinking it’s fattening and full of sugar. This leads us in to the type of chocolate that is being consumed as well as the quantity.
Choose a good quality dark chocolate- “as dark as the devils bum..” so said the Marquis De Sade from his prison confines as he ordered his daily rations of dark chocolate and sexual aides.
The darker the better as this type of chocolate contains higher levels of antioxidants and flavonoids and is a natural appetite suppressant and contains chemicals that block the cravings for sweets.
Anyway, I’ve heard that if calories are an issue, store your chocolate on top of the fridge as calories are afraid of heights.
In all seriousness, everything in moderation is the key to a successful and happy life and chocolate is no exception.
It melts in the mouth thanks to its tempering quality of melting at blood temperature or 37 degrees Celsius which just adds to its mystic qualities.
So I leave you with this magical recipe that hails from two kitchen wizards in the form of Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers from The River Cafe in London. Chocolate at its best.
Chocolate Nemesis Cake
675 gms bitter-sweet chocolate 70% broken into small pieces
10 organic eggs
575 gms caster sugar
450 gms unsalted butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 160 C/325 F and line a cake tin with greaseproof and then grease and flour it.
With an electric cake mixer,beat the eggs with a third of the sugar until the volume increases by four. This should take about 10 minutes.
Heat the remaining sugar with 250mls of water until the sugar dissolves to a syrup.
Stir the chocolate and butter into the hot syrup and then remove form the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Add the warm syrup to the eggs and mix gently for 20 seconds, no more. Pour into the cake tin and place in a bain marie.
It is essential that the water level in the bain marie comes up to the top of the cake tin so that the cake cooks evenly.
Bake for 50 minutes or until set. Test by placing the flat of your hand gently on the surface.
Leave to cool in the tin before turning out.