7 things you need to know about chocolate

Thanks again to author, A.K. Andrew for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. It’s always great to receive recognition from your friends and colleagues. I met Kathy Andrew via the Bloggers Helping Bloggers group on Linked In and we have become good friends.  To fulfill the terms of my award as a Beautiful Blogger, I’m asked to share 7 of something with you. A.K. suggested I share tidbits about chocolate, as I am so immersed in the world of artisanal chocolate and cacao.

Great chocolate is being made all over the world. You just have to look for it!

Great chocolate is being made all over the world. You just have to look for it!

7 Things You Need to Know about Chocolate

1. Dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content has many health benefits. I have an entire chapter in volume I of Chocolatour about these, but believe it or not, dark chocolate is actually a power food and raw chocolate contains more anti-oxidants than any other food in the world. Cacao releases dopamine and serotonin in our bodies to make us feel good. What could be better than a healthy food that makes us happy!

2. There is great chocolate of all types. Don’t be prejudiced against white, milk, or dark chocolate just because you may have had some of that type you didn’t like. Each chocolate company makes chocolate differently, and there are some that make white chocolate that’s not too sweet, milk chocolate that’s not too creamy, and dark chocolate that’s not too bitter. Experiment, and you’ll find the right ones to best suit your taste buds. Relatively new to the market, dark milk artisanal chocolate is a variety that brings the true chocolate flavour out in the cocoa bean, yet has that beautiful silky mouthfeel that so many of us love. Try it!

3.  You will find excellent chocolate in virtually every country of the world. I was pleased to try MAROU chocolate from Vietnam and find it to be some of the best chocolate I’ve ever eaten. And surprised to learn that the UK is probably home to the most amazing collection of chocolatiers and chocolate makers you’ll find anywhere. Both England and Scotland have some of the best. So always look for locally crafted chocolate in every destination you visit. You may be pleasantly surprised!

4.  A lot of things will affect the ultimate flavour of the chocolate. Just as with wine, the terroir (geographic location the cocoa beans come from and conditions they are grown in), how the cocoa beans are handled and processed, and what ingredients are blended with the cocoa mass and cocoa butter to create the end-result chocolate can make two bars grown from the same beans in the same country taste entirely different.

5. Resistance is futile when your body wants chocolate. So why waste time and calories trying to fool yourself into thinking something else will do? If you crave chocolate, have it. A small amount of good quality dark chocolate will satisfy your chocolate craving and only add abut 100 calories to your daily intake.

6. Chocolate is versatile and can be paired nicely with coffee, tea, wine, whisky, and even beer. The key is to match flavours. Pair a milk or white chocolate with a lighter or rose wine. Pair a deep dark chocolate with a more substantial wine such as Malbec or Merlot. Pair a creamy Belgian chocolate with Cream of Earl Grey or Rooibos tea, and a darker chocolate with black coffee or a dark beer like Stout or Porter.

7. Chocolate is the universal language of love. It makes everyone happy. It makes everyone smile. I’ve found that no matter where I’ve travelled, when you’re talking about or tasting chocolate, people are generally happy and smiling. No wonder I love my job so much!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this taste into the world of chocolate and learning some chocolate fun facts. I also hope you will subscribe to this site so you won’t miss a thing. If you’re on a tablet, you may have to turn your device to horizontal format in order to see the Subscribe button on the right hand side. Cheers and enjoy your chocolate. Chocolate will never let you down. 😊

Wm Chocolate from Madison, Wisconsin, is a terrific artisan chocolate maker whose single origin flavours will tantalize you.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I researched and wrote Volume I of Chocolatour that won a Readers' favourite Award in 2014. Always enjoy experiencing new destinations and flavours.

42 Responses

  1. Chloe says:

    Great post. I prefer sugar free dark chocolate. It’s very healthy and great when your on a diet. Thanks.
    Chloe recently posted…7 Reasons to Start a Sugar Detox Program TodayMy Profile

  2. Great to know so many useful information about chocolate. But I have one question. A lot of people claims that chocolate contains fat which is harmful for health. How true is that?

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Pure, dark chocolate contains little fat. And the fat that it does contain is plant-based, and therefore not harmful to us.

      If you’re talking about commercial chocolate candy, that is a completely different story. It’s filled with added fat, wax, sugar and other harmful ingredients.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…the birth of a bookMy Profile

  3. James says:

    Doreen, This is a great article! it’s nice to see that I’m not the only crazy one that loves dark chocolate in this world. Now I can show my wife all the benefits of the chocolate, maybe she will join on board.
    I like the most fact number 1 as I love my chocolate raw as possible but point # 5 will have great impact on my wife as she always warning me about the calories! Thank you.

  4. As someone who lives and works in Switzerland but is together with a Belgian, I know some of the world’s best chocolate quite well. The Swiss will tell you their’s is the best and deny the existence of any other (import laws have a lot to do with that). The Belgians know their’s is awesome but are more humble. They do better dark chocolate in my opinion (companies like Guylian, Cote D’or are great and can be found at Belgian supermarkets, and others like Godiva and Neuhaus make the Pralines!) In Switzerland companies like Lindt are quite new to dark choc and specialize in milk (which I no longer enjoy and tends to have more sugar and other calorie rich stuff in it).

    Anyway, love chocolate!! Could not live without it.
    Ashley Faulkes recently posted…Spare some change? Give just a little to educate today’s children in need!My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Ashley. I think you will love my upcoming book, Chocolatour! We have this debate in the book, and celebrate the attributes of chocolate from some of the finest chocolate producers on the European continent (including the UK, where some amazing chocolate is now being made.) Please make your way over to https://chocolatour.net and you will see some of the places that will be covered in the book. And for updates on Chocolatour (the first edition will be out next month), please subscribe to https://chocolatour.net.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…knowing which conferences to attend can be a challengeMy Profile

  5. Fatima says:

    I love experimenting with chocolates and tasting all kinds by a certain brand. No other craving is as deadly as chocolate craving and yes I never hold myself back when I am craving for a chocolate. Indeed a collection of interesting facts Doreen. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Aayna says:

    Hey Doreen,
    These are some of the amazing things about chocolates. For me chocolate is the medium to express happiness, and even when I feel low, I need a chocolate to uplift my spirit. I certainly agree that chocolate is the universal thing in the world, which is adorned by all. Thanks for the share.
    Aayna recently posted…Using Settings and Preferences in Microsoft Word 2013My Profile

  7. Oh, Doreen, I always learn something new about chocolate every time I visit your blog. More important, I learn another reason to love chocolate! You could have called this “how do I love thee? let me count the ways”… My mother would often snack on a hunk of dark bittersweet chocolate and a small glass of buttermilk!
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted…Pull over, pleaseMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Krystyna. Buttermilk: I love buttermilk pancakes, but I’ve never drank the stuff. It kind of grosses me out for some reason. Yet, just like your mother, my parents used to like it. (They’re both long gone.) Interesting how some things are popular with certain generations and then they fall out of favour. Chocolate on the other hand …
      WizardOfWords recently posted…7 things you need to know about chocolate My Profile

  8. Pat Bodman says:

    Congratulations on your nomination Doreen!!!! I think you do a beautiful job keeping us up to speed with the various aspects of chocolate . Always learning something new!!!!

    • Thanks, Pat. This particular blog is actually my writer’s lifestyle blog, so I don’t often write about chocolate here, but as chocolate has become such a big part of my life, and most writers I know DO love chocolate, I thought it would go over OK. Glad you’re enjoying the ride!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…exploring chocolate in VancouverMy Profile

  9. Love the way you thanked A.K. and the seven points about chocolate.

    When you mentioned the Vietnamese chocolate I thought about how I have had chocolate made in numerous ways in countries all over the world. Have had chocolate made in Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and so forth. But I can’t remember what it tasted like. Presumably that’s because it tasted more or less like chocolate does:-)
    Catarina Alexon recently posted…Want to turn your phone into a robot?My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Catarina. Glad you enjoyed the post!

      If you are eating mass-produced chocolate in different countries of the world, you may not notice a difference in the flavour, as it may be so heavily processed that the flavour of the chocolate doesn’t shine through.

      It’s only when you eat pure, single origin chocolate that you will notice the distinct flavour of cocoa produced in each region.

      And eating single origin chocolate (i.e. chocolate that is clearly identified as coming from a specific growing region) may not give you much of a flavour sensation either. My experience has been that eating chocolate that is grown in a specific destination and made into chocolate right in that location will taste far different (and fresher) and smell more aromatic than chocolate that has been shipped thousands of miles and then processed into chocolate.

      It’s the same as eating tomatoes that are grown locally and then eaten right from the garden, vs eating tomatoes that have been grown in a “hot house” and then shipped thousands of miles before making it to your table. No comparison in flavour.

  10. Jeri says:

    Your expertise certainly shows in this post 😉 I do keep chocolate in the house at all times so I can get a quick bit-sized fix on occasion. I’ve yet to try much dark chocolate. That is something I need to change.
    Jeri recently posted…Author Interview: John HartnettMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Jeri and thanks for your comment.

      To dip your toes into the decadent world of dark chocolate, I’d recommend you start with the Lindt Excellence Bars, a collection of really good, but reasonably priced bars. My fav is the Sea Salt bar. It’s got just a touch of exotic sea salt sprinkled in the bar. The chocolate isn’t bitter at all, and if you love red wine … it goes REALLY well with Malbec. 🙂

      • Jeri says:

        I love Lindt, and I did try t he Sea Salt bar this weekend. It’s safe to say I loved it, and finding the little grains of salt as it melts on the tongue is a nice touch! I have always associated dark chocolate with bitterness. Obviously because I haven’t tried enough of it. Thanks for the recommendation.
        Jeri recently posted…Author Interview: John HartnettMy Profile

        • WizardOfWords says:

          Yay, Jeri! I’m glad you made the plunge into the world of premium dark chocolate. The Lindt SS bar is definitely a great place to start. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thx for letting me know. 🙂

  11. KellyWade says:

    Really liked this post! I myself like any and all kinds of chocolate, but my sister is the complete opposite. She really only enjoys white chocolate so maybe I’ll have to share your tidbit about how everyone makes it different and have her search for some milk or dark she’d like. And you’re right, who can be unhappy around chocolate?!
    KellyWade recently posted…Home Remedies for Sunburns My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Kelly. The discovery of chocolate excellence is never-ending. Just when you think you’ve found one that is the best– the ultimate … you find another that is even better and more satisfying. That’s what I love so much about chocolate. The tasting of each chocolatier’s offerings is like discovering a whole new world.

  12. Chocolate and beer – who knew? Definitely something to try out. I’m also going to back through your blog posts to find out about your travels in the U.K. I’m planning on being in Scotland next fall. Cheers to you, Doreen, and congratulations on the blog nomination! – Allison

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Allison, and thanks for joining the conversation!

      I do have lots of posts about the UK at diversionswithdoreen.com. But unfortunately none yet about Scotland, as I have yet to visit. It’s definitely high on my list, though, as I’ve now discovered 4 very good chocolate makers/chocolatiers there. I doubt I’ll get there this year, but maybe in 2014. It would be cool if we could go together. 🙂

  13. amanda says:

    chocolate, yum. thanks for the back up on this one, especially when you don’t have a lot of options living abroad… chocolate may be key ! bring chocolate to a potential new friend, reason #8 to have chocolate.
    amanda recently posted…Toss the pink bottle – Johnson and Johnson’s license suspendedMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Absolutely, Amanda, and welcome to the blog!

      Yes, if you recall the special events throughout the year such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day (and Christmas to a lesser degree), chocolate is one of the most popular and coveted gifts. A great way to make a good impression and a new friend!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…7 things you need to know about chocolate My Profile

  14. Oh my, I want some chocolate right now after reading this. I completely understand how well some chocolate pairs with other types of food. A small amount of Jack Daniels really enhances a good chocolate ice cream.
    Elizabeth Scott recently posted…What is Triberr?My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Wow, Elizabeth! I certainly wouldn’t have paired Jack Daniels with ice-cream! I love it in BBQ sauces. (Learned that from TGIF Friday’s and have been using it in my own sauces ever since.) But indeed several liquors and liquers do pair amazingly well with chocolate. Enjoy!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…7 things you need to know about chocolate My Profile

  15. Harry Hobbs says:

    Thanks for that Doreen and it is interesting that dark chocolate is now considered healthy and a power food if you have the 70% cacao.
    Think of it – chocolate is made from a plant and all vegetables are good for you right. Well that’s one chocolate lovers rationale.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Harry and thanks for your comment!

      Actually, chocolate comes from the cacao tree. It is considered a fruit because it is the seeds (what are called cocoa beans) that are ground to make the cocoa mass that is made into chocolate. But yes, in its pure, raw form, chocolate is indeed a power food. And as long it is not polluted with too much processing and additives, it retains its good and healthy qualities.

  16. I so get the part about resistance is futile. There is a VERY rare time that I don’t like chocolate, any kind of chocolate. I too enjoyed your recommendation regarding what kind of chocolate to have with what libation. As you said whenever chocolate comes to the table, it brings on many smiles and much laughter and joy. Chocolate just rocks. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Spring – It Begins: Poem (Podcast)My Profile

  17. Jon Jefferson says:

    Though not always one of my favorites, I have found a few chocolates that pair well with beers. It is interesting to note that just as varied as chocolate can be, there are a multitude of beers that can go with them all.

    I have paired bitter IPAs with chocolates for a valentines day tasting before.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Jon: Yes, I’ve heard that India Pale Ales go well with chocolate. Never tried that particular pairing myself — yet — but I will! Cheers!

  18. Irene says:

    Hi Doreen,
    Enjoyed your 7 chocolate facts. Glad to see that you don’t completely disregard milk chocolate because I find many of the dark chocolates too strong for my taste.

    Like A.J. — whose blog I checked out and enjoyed — I was interested to see your suggestions for wine and chocolate.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Irene.

      I used to turn my nose up at white and milk chocolate, but as I ate the chocolate offerings of hundreds of chocolate makers, I eventually began to realize that, just as a great chef can be amazing things with any ingredient, a great chocolate maker can make fine chocolate whether there is dairy or other ingredients added to change the flavour of the pure chocolate.

  19. A.K.Andrew says:

    My goodness Doreen – what a wonderful thank you and mention you have done for me. I’m very flattered. I really enjoyed your suggestions in what wines & spirits to pair chocolate with. I hadn’t thought of that before. I also agree it certainly is the universal language. Toss out the guilt and indulge yourself a little – great advice. Thank you for a great post Doreen 🙂
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…5 Books made into Films – Which Version is a Modern Classic?My Profile

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