Chocolate - A Gift of Love - A Holiday Favorite
Chocolate. To many people, just the word makes their mouth water. As one of the most popular food substances in the world, chocolate has become a staple gift for many of the traditional holidays. Who doesn't look forward to a chocolate bunny on Easter, chocolate hearts and Kisses on Valentines day, a box of assorted chocolates on Christmas and chocolate coins on Hanukkah? We put it in our milk and our coffee. We pour it over ice cream and dip strawberries in it.
History of Chocolate
The use of chocolate has been documented back as early as 1100 BC with its use by the Aztecs and the Mayans. Chocolate wasn't known in Europe until after the Spanish conquest of South America. In its unsweetened form, Hernando Cortez called the drink served at Montezuma's table, "a bitter drink for pigs". But after being sweetened with honey or cane sugar it became popular throughout Spain. Cacao beans, grown on plantations, manned by African slaves, supplied the rich and royals with this new delicacy to the rest of Europe. The first Chocolate house was opened in London in 1657 and following soon after, the Industrial Revolution made the world wide consumption of chocolate possible and its popularity took off. The first chocolate candies were offered by the Cadbury company in 1868. And Nestles went into the chocolate business a few years later with the first milk chocolate. Today, the average American consumes 1/2 pound of chocolate a month which has turned the chocolate business into a 4 billion dollar industry.
Chocolate - Good for you?
Aside from the pure pleasure of eating chocolate, it has been increasingly linked to many health benefits. The positive benefits of dark chocolate on the circulatory system is an ongoing study. These benefits include lowering LDL levels, reducing the chances of heart attack. Chocolate is also thought to provide antioxidants to prevent some forms of cancer.
As yet unproven health benefits of chocolate from an article by Margurite Bonneville.
* Cacao contains antibacterial agents that fight tooth decay, offset by the high sugar content of milk chocolate.
* The smell of chocolate may increase theta brain waves, resulting in relaxation.
* Chocolate contains mild mood elevator, phenyl ethylamine.
* The cocoa butter in chocolate contains oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat which may raise good cholesterol.
* Drinking a cup of hot chocolate before meals may actually diminish appetite.
* Men who eat chocolate live a year longer than those who don't.
* The flavanoids in chocolate may help keep blood vessels elastic.
* Chocolate increases antioxidant levels in the blood.
* Mexican healers use chocolate to treat bronchitis and insect bites.
* The carbohydrates in chocolate raise serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of well-being.
Chocolate Gift Basket
From Valentine hearts to Easter bunnies, chocolate has long been the favorite and most often received gift for many major holidays. But more recently chocolate has become a gift for any occasion. With companies now specializing in custom chocolate gifts, you can give business card sized chocolate bars with your company logo on it to your favorite customers. Chocolate comes in all shapes and sizes, such as golf balls, fish, cars, CDs, and a multitude of animals and flowers. You can customize chocolate coins to promote your business or commemorate a special event. You can send a tower or basket of assorted chocolates to that special someone. In short, just about anything that you can think of, that you would like to do with chocolate can and is done, making it the most delicious and versatile gift item available.
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Extensive collection of unique chocolate recipes. Each recipe has an ingredient listing, preparation instructions and a printer-friendly version.
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The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is a manufacturer and marketer of premium chocolate products. Incorporated in 1852, Ghirardelli has the richest heritage of any American chocolate company. Ghirardelli's product line includes its signature SQUARES ch
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HERSHEYS.COM has everything chocolate! Check out HERSHEY'S products, view delicious recipes, learn about current promotions along with much more.
Chocolate gifts for every occassion