Devil's food cake with dark chocolate frosting -- that's my all-time favorite dessert. Like most people, I've had a love affair with the cocoa bean as long as I can remember. Why do we love chocolate so?
Quora.com explains it this way: "The basic fact that chocolate tastes good and we enjoy eating it means that the body releases dopamine during chocolate consumption. ... Chocolate also contains theobromine, a chemical known to increase heart rate and energy, as well as arousal." Dopamine is the same chemical our brains release during sex, an adventurous experience or an especially gregarious laugh. Enough said.
Lovers give chocolate when jewelry just won't do. Rich chocolate pairs with red wine splendidly, each enhancing the other and bringing an almost euphoric reaction to the taste. For good reason, a box of chocolates ("You never know what you're going to get.") is a staple for Valentines Day and for any husband in the doghouse. Only chocolate or chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream will do for binging after a break-up. Attend any convention's social hour and watch the crowd gather around the chocolate fountain with glee.
It's been proven that white chocolate does not affect the brain the same as its brown counterpart and that you generally don't crave sweeter chocolate more than other types. In fact, chocolate that is less sweet also has less calories, and dark, smooth, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate can change your outlook on your whole day.
All I know is that were Hershey, Ghirardelli and Mars were to all shut down at once, no pandemic could match our collective reaction.
Several of my friends and followers have offered their thoughts and favorite chocolates for this post. Here are some of the great comments I received (I've edited or paraphrased some):
Pat B.- Chocolate Molten Cake from Chilis. It’s soooo good.
Kathi B.- Chocolate, how do I love you ? Let me count the ways. It pairs great with red wine or berries or oranges or make a mole sauce richer. So decadent and makes any celebration that much more special.
Nadyne H.- While I'm not a huge fan of chocolate, I have a couple great chocolate memories! I remember my dad always had a little crystal candy dish next to his chair filled with semi sweet chocolate chips. He snacked on those all day! The last time I saw my mother alive was at a nursing home I checked her into to rehab her hip. I had a hot fudge sundae waiting for her when she was rolled into her room. I think she was happier seeing that than seeing me! When I said good-bye, I turned around and looked back at her sitting there with her bib on, her smiling mouth covered in hot fudge! I remember thinking that I'd never see her that happy again. I was right...
Jennifer C.- I like all chocolate no favorites it all depends on my mood, but having a birthday on Halloween you know we ate a lot of chocolate!!! My brother and I share that birth date and we always got more candy because the neighbors all knew it was our birthday.
Campingcoops- I’m not picky, I love all things chocolate. It is my COMFORT food. Makes any day better!
Lindsay (The Photographic One)- Chocolate always got me through tough times at work. Whenever I had particularly challenging projects, the company president would bring me bags of Dove chocolate. For me it is a major food group.
Outofsightadventures- I am not a huge fan of chocolate, however, I do occasionally enjoy a square or two of 72% chocolate... It’s like a fine wine.
Bruce & Linda (Omnibus)- Linda likes a small piece of good quality dark chocolate; me, not so much. I prefer chocolate as an accompaniment -- chocolate dipped strawberry, apricot, or pineapple; chocolate sauce on a (vegan) ice cream sundae; almond M&M; etc. A friend used to make chocolate drizzled popcorn as a holiday gift, equal parts dark and white chocolate drizzle.
Ladybugg- I love most things chocolate... but my absolute favorite is Ferrero Rocher in the gold wrapper. It doesn't get any better than that for me!
BLSMSS- I have a chocolate dessert when I do my wine parties -- it is as fine as wine, and both are better!
Donna H.- My favorite is chocolate meringue pie! My grandmother used to make this and it reminds me of her and her cooking skills each time I eat a slice... or a pie!!
My ending quote for this topic comes from British comedian Tommy Cooper: "My wife said, 'Take me in your arms and whisper something soft and sweet.' I said, 'chocolate fudge.'"
Jack Huber is a writer, blogger, poet and photographer. Like many, he is concerned about the psyche of our planet's inhabitants and wants to try to improve his little corner of it.