The Mystique Of Chocolate

In times of stress and celebration, we often react the same: We choose chocolate. Why not? It's cheaper than champagne. Quicker than a bubble bath. It's perfectly legal yet tastes slightly sinful.

Chocolate represents a timeout, an escape and a way to indulge ourselves. People love to indulge in chocolate, consuming an average of 13 pounds of the stuff every year. That, however, is a one-week supply for some people!

Chocolate is a complicated food with nuances that rival fine wines. A few years ago, science believed chocolate had 400 or 500 flavor characteristics. It has now been discovered to be in the several thousands. Contrast that with vanilla that has less than 200. Sometimes a fine and sensitive chocolate lover can a hint of jasmine, plum or even burgundy red wine in chocolate.

Flavor depends on the origin, roasting and blending of the cocoa beans. The tasting of chocolate is complex and volatile: It's an art. And an art that many people, especially women, love. With the exception of Valentine's Day, 90 percent of chocolate store customers are women. As children, boys buy more chocolate than girls.

Women's eating habits also differ. They share more, so women are more apt to purchase products with more than one item. Whether you want chocolate for yourself or for a friend, chocolate choices in the United States have moved beyond milk chocolate bars. Customers seeking something slightly naughty but tasty can try chocolate body paint. You simply apply it with a brush and how you get it off is up to you!

While chocolate may tickle our fancy and soothe our soul, it also may be good for our hearts. Recent research reveals that dark chocolate contains phenol, the same chemical found in red wine, some fruits and green tea that is known to help reduce the risk of heart disease. However, chocolate is still chock-full of calories and can't exactly be considered a health food.

Yet, in moderation, chocolate can be enjoyed every day. You can try pouring a little chocolate in your morning coffee or drizzling it over strawberries and bananas. Don't deprive yourself. Make it your little treat. When you're ready to treat yourself or a friend, how do you know which chocolate is best? It all depends on your preference. After all, taste is subjective. And fun when it comes to chocolate!

Do You Hide Chocolate?

  • 25 percent of Americans admit to hiding boxed chocolate from others. (You know who you are.)
  • 40 percent hope they will be offered a piece of the very boxed chocolate they gave as a gift.
  • 48 percent of all boxed chocolate purchases are for gifts to family members besides a spouse or romantic recipient.
  • 58 percent believe giving boxed chocolate will increase their chances of receiving a hug.

So why are you still sitting at your PC reading this Hub? Get out and get some chocolate! Whether it's M&Ms or the finest expensive Belgian or Swiss chocolate, you most certainly can't be blamed for coveting this delectable delicious treat that everybody loves!

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