Studies are showing that since the onset of the pandemic people are consuming a lot more comfort food than usual, especially chocolate. Us included. When it comes to survival, we have to stay happy. So, whenever I make a market run, I roll past the sweets display to see if my favorite dark chocolates are in stock. Only dark chocolate. Not just because it’s crazy delicious, but because it’s healthier. It contains less sugar and has fewer calories. It’s even regarded as a super food. With higher amounts of cocoa solids (it’s made from the seed of the cocoa tree), it’s loaded with antioxidants and other wonderful nutrients that offer health benefits, including lowering high blood pressure. Natural chocolate contains caffeine that gives you energy but won’t keep you up at night. And it contains the amino acid tryptophan -- the magic ingredient that makes us feel so happy.
On our kitchen counter is a designated corner for things we need at a moment’s notice like saltshakers, fresh garlic, honey – and a small bowl that holds two already-opened packages of dark chocolate. Once or twice a day I unwrap one to crack just a few pieces of chocolate for Louie and me and we’re good to go. (If you can hear chocolate crack, that’s a sign of good quality chocolate.)
I learned all of this while on a couple of travel writing assignments -- a chocolate tour in Zurich, Switzerland, and a chocolate tasting in Tlaquepaque, a municipality of Guadalajara, Mexico – where I gained the greatest respect for the world’s most beloved food.
And you don’t need to eat a lot of it. “Just a chocolate a day!” said my Swiss guide.