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Chocolate, Great and Great for You

Chocolate is a fruit.

 

Period.

 

 Ya you heard me chocolate is a fruit. You are not dreaming, this is not a hallucination and it is definitely not a prank. I take chocolate very seriously, in fact I have excessive quantities running through my veins. So you can trust me on this one, chocolate is indeed a fruit and like all other fruits it comes in different varieties, colours, flavours, and sizes.

  

The cacao tree as you would imagine based on it’s final product is a very high maintenance plant. It can only grow 20° from the equator, they need a lot of sun, a lot of rain and a lot of protection. By protection I mean that cocoa trees need the canopy of a warm rainforest to shade it from the sun, shield against wind and temperatures of minimum 18°C – max 32°C. Imagine you are dealing with a mad crazy girlfriend asking for a tall, nonfat, no foam, half-cafe, extra hot, hazelnut latte from Starbucks with a biodegradable straw so she won’t ruin her lipstick and that is what you are dealing with. The only difference is all this fussing over a tree is no doubt 100% worth the effort.

The awesome benefit I found with cocoa trees is their need for biodiversity in order to grow successfully resulting in the cocoa beans taking on the flavour profile of its surroundings. For example if you come across a cocoa tree with bananas, mangos, and other tropical fruits planted nearby it will have a mild tropical fruit flavour, same goes if coffee grows nearby or fragrant herbs. Isn’t that incredible?! As a cocoa producer this is extremely valuable in that you can curate a uniquely original, natural flavour in collaboration with the farmer. How FUN! For a chocolatier this makes confections and desserts a breeze when it come to paring and building flavours, because we can take inspiration from the cocoa trees surroundings with the good ol’ saying of “what grows together goes together”, I can just feel my co-workers rolling their eyes at me, but it rings true!

In its raw state chocolate is extremely good for you! The white pulp that surrounds the cocoa beans called the “bubba”- cute name right- is packed full of antioxidants and vitamins. Farmers while harvesting the cocoa will suck on the bubba throughout the long days to give them energy plus it tastes insanely good ya’ll, like lychee juice. YUMMY! With all those antioxidants and vitamins it does wonders for skin because it neutralizes the effects of free radicals.

  Are you having a shit day? Can’t seem to turn lemons into lemonade? Well chocolate has been proven to help with stress reduction due to its huge amounts of antidepressant qualities. Theobromine,ever heard of it? It is a complex compound that forms naturally in chocolate in large quantities and it relaxes your nerves without the negative effects for your heart health that over the counter drugs can have. Let me remind you this is chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa mass or nibs, think 65% dark or higher so you are not getting the sugar that spikes insulin levels. 

    The real powerhouse of chocolate is the huge, gigantic, absurdly large amounts of flavonoids that it contains. Flavonoids reduce blood pressure and high cholesterol which will significantly reduce your risk of stroke or heart disease. Flavonoids protect your skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet rays so go ahead and fill your chocolate craving while on holiday! It improves brain function, all of you with upcoming exams have some chocolate so you incredible geniuses can work at optimal levels. And this may be icky but it is worth being said  that chocolate can also relieve the symptoms of diarrhea.

I don’t need to give you anymore reasons to love chocolate do I? I didn’t think so. 

 

 Chocolate. Delicious. Exotic, and makes you feel incredible 😉