Photo image by swanksalot via Flickr Creative Commons
1. MAKE A DIFFERENCE
By choosing your chocolate carefully, you can support fair and ethical trade, ensuring cacao farmers a fair price for their crops and supporting responsible labor practices (such as no child labor). Choosing all-natural and organic chocolate supports sustainable farming – which puts fewer chemicals into the earth, protecting diverse forests ecosystems.
2. TRIGGER NOSTALGIA
Can you recall your earliest experiences with chocolate? Have your chocolate tastes changed over the years? What was your favorite chocolate bar when you were a child?
3. TEST THE LIMITS OF YOUR WILLPOWER
Place your favorite chocolate bar (opened) on your desk at the beginning of a workday (for those that feel especially strong – try this on a Monday). See how long it takes you to take a bite. Get co-workers to play along and compare times. My record is 20 (long) minutes.
4. SOMETHING TO HORDE AND HIDE
Good chocolate has a funny way of disappearing. Don’t feel any shame in having a hidden stash somewhere in your home and/or office. Think of a place no one would think to look and horde it away to nibble when an intense chocolate craving hits!
5. A TOKEN OF LOVE
It has been said, “There is nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate.” Even something as simple as showing up at a friend’s house with a chocolate bar is a perfect way to say “you mean the world to me.”
6. MARK YOUR PLACE
The wrapper of your favorite chocolate bar can be quickly crafted into a sweet-scented bookmark. Each time you go to read, you’ll be reminded of your last indulgent chocolate experience. Thinking up ways to reuse things before tossing them in the trash or recycle bin is a great way to be green.
7. IMPROVE YOUR COOKING
Break up your favorite chocolate bar and substitute the chunky pieces for chocolate chips in a cookie recipe. Make amazing hot chocolate by melting 1.5oz or so of a quality chocolate bar into a hot mug of milk/soy milk.
8. SAVOR, APPRECIATE AND ANALYZE
Chocolate is serious business (at least it is at my house)! Flavor of chocolate varies depending on the region in which it grown and type of cacao bean used. Close your eyes, inhale its aroma. Let the bite sit and melt on your tongue. What words come to mind to describe the flavor – earthy, fruity, floral? Bitter, sweet? For more tasting tips, read our previous post, Sensory Tasting.
9. PAIR WITH WINE
As a rule, dark chocolate pairs well with red wine. Read up and drink up after referencing our Wine & Chocolate post.
10. RESEARCH REASONS TO NIX THE GUILT
In moderation, chocolate is healthful. While nibbling your next chocolate bar, surf the web and read about all the health benefits associated with chocolate. Remember, the higher the cocoa content, the greater the health benefits.
For the love of chocolate, this is by no means a comprehensive list. Share other vital uses for chocolate by commenting below.