photo by Lisa Brewster

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

Serves 10-12

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.



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10 Comments

  1. Berlinkitchen said…

    Funny Bridget and what a coincidence as 60min. ago I thought about sending you the recipe of NEMESIS when you started your chocolate attack via Twitter.

    All the best,

    Martin "Berlinkitchen"

  2. Berlinkitchen said…

    P.S. After reading your wonderful article I have gone directly to the fridge and grabing some Valrhona chocolate. 🙂

  3. Bridget said…

    Martin… we got a chocolate frenzy going on here!! Hahaha… Valhrona… mmmmm I love the orange one!! and thanks for the strudel recipe. I've hand written it into my recipe notebook.

    love,

    Bridge.

  4. felixexplody said…

    Hooray for Bridget's blog! Though I'm not usually a chocolate fan (freak!), for some reason I now have a craving…that cake looks divine! And as an aside, another reason to choose quality over quantity – I only recently read about child slavery in the cocoa trade but it gave me food for thought this easter! Buy fairtrade and have another powerful reason to each chocolate!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_exploitation_i

  5. Bridget said…

    Thank you for the link! Darling, this is what we must focus on. Quality over quantity, fair trade and being grateful for what we have.

    love,

    Bridge.

  6. Becca said…

    wonderful wonderful writing…

    AND what a great choice for first topic CHOCOLATE

    looking forward to more more more to come! x x lots of love from Becca x x

  7. Reemski said…

    Wow, that cake sounds insane! I'll have to try it next special occasion I have..

  8. Marilyn said…

    Aloha Bridget,
    Now I’m going to have to run out and get some dark choc-o-late!!! Love that movie too. A hot cocoa with some cayenne, dark rich chocolate…ooohhhhh.
    Marilyn @jamarilyn

  9. Lahori said…

    From the desert state of Rajasthan, this one’s a delight. The Rajasthani people were often deprived of fresh vegetables and fruits in their hostile arid environment. Most also happened to be die-hard vegetarians. They used non-perishable dried legumes, and root vegetables such as potatoes, onions and garlic capable of prolonged storage

  10. debt said…

    I just identified your webpage on Ask Jeeves, a truly excellent understand.

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With 20+ years working in commercial kitchens, I’m here to share with you some of the best secrets of the trade to help you cook better, faster and to eat well. You will surprise a lot of family & friends when you give some of my recipes a try.

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