Chocolate. Food of the Gods. Best anti-depressant out there. Best friend to some. Whatever your relationship with my favorite food in the world, please celebrate its existence today. Personally, I am grateful I don't have to live without it.
To briefly run through its existence, the Mayans called this food of the gods, and indeed the scientific name for the cacao tree is Theobroma, which translates into…Food of the Gods. Only the rich drank it back in the day, it was used as money to buy things, such was its value. It was originally consumed in liquid form, pure, unadultered, sometimes with added spice. The Swiss made the first milk chocolate, and it really picked up movement in the 18th century. I myself started indulging as a child, Cadbury's milk chocolate, and have since refined my tastes and enjoy the dark stuff.
Some call me a chocolate snob, but I wouldn’t quite put it that way. I am merely a purist. I prefer it dark, in a bar, un-filled, un-milked. If you have truly good chocolate, you only need a small piece to feel satisfied. The Aztecs and Mayans thought chocolate to be good for your health, and I concur. It has not only healed my bad moods, it has improved my stomach pains. It eases digestion, it contains anti-oxidants, it improves blood flow, it improves your mood, and it makes me very, very happy.
I know that I have been remiss in posting this October, so I just want to note, although October is coming to an end, it has been Fair Trade month, and hey, you still have a couple of days to purchase a fair trade product. Why not make it fair trade chocolate? ;)
In a nutshell though, what is Fair Trade? It’s a system that promotes economic development for farmers in developing countries, cuts out the middle man which enables the farmer to receive more income for his product, in turn enabling him to send his children to school and receive – a fair wage.
A few of my favorites –
Divine - benefits cacao growers in Ghana.
Theo - the first U.S. based bean-to-bar produced chocolates. Try the bread and chocolate. According to a certain cousin of mine, it is delightful.
Dagoba - while not explicitly fair trade, they do work with cooperatives to ensure sustainable and ecologically sound practices.
For those in DC – visit the best chocolate store in DC, the only one that I visit, with free tastings aplenty, knowledgeable staff, and fantastic specialty chocolate, well worth the prices. Remember, the darker it is, the more pure it is, the more cocoa content it has, the more money the farmers who grow those beans are likely getting, the better it is for your health. My point – you get what you pay for, so today, skip the candy section and go for the chocolate with a cause.
Biagio Fine Chocolate Presents
J CHOCOLATIER COMPLIMENTARY TASTING
October 28th, from 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Food for a good cause, one of my favorite things. Especially when the food is a scrumptious United Nations (UN) week cupcake made specially by Georgetown cupcake, voted by many (myself included) as the best cupcake joint in DC.
The cause: today thousands of people stood up for action to urge leaders worldwide to work harder to end poverty to attain the UN Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). My organization hosted our own stand up.
The 8 goals below were chosen in 2000 by 189 world leaders to address extreme poverty through tackling its root causes:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDs, malaria, and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
With just 6 years left, no region is on track to meet their goals. Hence the call to STAND UP AND DEMAND ACTION today, and send a not so subtle reminder to our world leaders that we do expect them to deliver.
In the meantime, should you feel compelled to participate in UN Week activities in Washington DC – here’s a full line up provided by the United Nations Association. Only today, all proceeds from sales of Georgetown Cupcake’s UN cupcakes will go towards supporting the UN’s work. Go get your cupcake now!
The city's environmental record, along with its plethora of independent coffee shops, large farmers markets, friendly people and delicious food has made me a #1 fan.
A couple of my favorite food finds while I was there (recommended for when you visit) :
The Crumpet Shop - these spongy, porous muffin/pancake-y wonders can be topped with everything from nutella to eggs and ham to marmite and they are a wonderful texture, slightly crunchy, chewy and soft. Amazing. And the staff is super friendly.
Salumi - salami, salami, all kinds of peppered and fennel and sweet salami. Lines are always long, this place has the Bourdain stamp and the sandwiches are delish, but could use a little more salami.
Now what will it take for DC to be a top ten Smart City next year? They were only #31 this year. Interested to see how smart your city is? See rankings here.