Happy National Chocolate day!
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