Friday, October 28, 2016

Bean Scene

With Halloween around the corner, it seems like overkill that today is National Chocolate Day.

Chocolate originated in the New World, where it's thousands of years old, and was brought to Spain five centuries ago by Columbus.  It was originally a drink made from the cacao bean, and, unsweetened, probably didn't taste that great.  Not that you couldn't acquire a taste, though modern chocolate doesn't require any work.

Among the changes that have been made are the addition of sugar and milk (sounds like what people do to their coffee). Today, billions of pounds are manufactured annually. The average U.S. citizen eats a bit under ten pounds per year.  (Sounds on the low side to me, except there are plenty who avoid it entirely.)  The nation with the biggest consumption per capita is Switzerland, where they eat close to twenty pounds a year--guess their stuff tastes better.

There are medical benefits to chocolate, though mostly for dark chocolate.  A lot of the stuff that makes milk chocolate taste so good is bad for you.

The top-selling chocolate product in the U.S. are M&Ms, followed by Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  Snickers are the most popular candy bar in America, and, for that matter, the world.

These popular chocolates are cheap, but the high quality stuff can cost a pretty penny. Knipschildt Chocolatier's Madeline truffle costs $250.  Then there's the 2014 fifty-gram bar from To'ak Chocolate, which will set you back $260--though to be fair it does include a lengthy booklet from the company's founder (explaining why it costs so much?). Delafee of Switzerland's Gold Chocolate Box costs $330, and the box only has eight pieces.  Of course, the chocolates come with edible gold flakes and the box includes a gold coin (pieces of eight?).

Maybe that's more than you're willing to spend.  But let me suggest an experiment--for the next few months, eat less, but higher quality chocolate.  You may never go back.

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