Some things just go together naturally and no one can necessarily explain why. One of these popular pairings is chocolate and romance. Chocolate is often associated with love and romance and we only have to think about Valentine’s Day to get some idea of how this sweet treat is used to woo a partner (or potential partner).
I suppose there are some obvious reasons as to why chocolate should be associated with love. The fact that is has traditionally been considered to be an aphrodisiac would probably be a good starting point. Yes, right back to the days of the Mayans and Aztecs, when the nobility consumed chocolate, it was believed to have mystical powers in the bedroom department. This theory has undoubtedly survived due to the scarcity and desirability of chocolate when it was first introduced to Europe. In fact, Europe’s most celebrated lover, Casanova, was purported to tuck away a fair few cups of chocolate during the course of each day. This wasn’t to satisfy any chocoholic tendencies, oh no, it was his belief in the aphrodisiacal powers of this cocoa drink.
These days we’re a little more savvy when it comes to taking the success rate of foods seriously as forms of aphrodisiac. However, there’s a lot to be said for the powers of romance and there aren’t many people who are going to be upset about receiving a huge box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Even if there’s no hope of a romantic get together, a night in front of the tube with a box of chocolates is still sinfully delicious.
Here’s some good news for all you chocoholics – eating chocolate is good for you! Well, hang on a minute; let’s not get too excited just yet. I’m not saying that you can clear all the fruit and vegetables out of your cupboards and fill them with oversized chocolate bars and biscuits. ‘Everything in moderation’ as they say. ‘You can have too much of a good thing’ but ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good’. Enough of the sayings and phrases and let’s talk facts.
Cocoa contains an antioxidant called flavanol and it’s this little component that could potentially have health benefits such as lowering blood pressure. As this is contained in the cocoa itself, you should obviously choose a chocolate bar with a high cocoa solid content, specifically dark chocolate. Dark chocolate generally has a much higher cocoa content than milk chocolate and the milk itself will dilute the effects of the flavanols. As white chocolate often doesn’t contain any actual cocoa, this won’t have any effect.
The downside is that as chocolate is high in both fat and calories, it’s difficult to really balance out the benefits compared to the fat intake and there’s a very fine line between the two. The obvious solution is to just have a small amount and that way; you’re getting a sweet treat but not over indulging. If only I could follow my own advice – I find it very difficult to open a bar of chocolate and just limit myself to a couple of squares. It doesn’t tend to last very long I’m afraid but maybe the answer is to just buy a very small bar, really enjoy and then know it’s gone. If there’s opened chocolate hanging around, I can’t be held responsible for my actions.