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Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!

So much to know and love about this decadent treat!
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Does just thinking about chocolate give your tongue the tingles?

For many, there’s nothing like it. The most craveable of foods. Chocolate stands out on its own and has raised many recipes from delicious to truly blissful!

Even if you are watching what you eat, chocolate is actually a beneficial sweet to indulge in just a little. Chocolate is made from beans that contain plant chemicals called flavanols. Flavanols are antioxidants which may reduce blood platelet stickiness and blood clots, says Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, a professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University. One study led by Dr. Kris-Etherton found that those with a diet rich in cocoa powder and dark chocolate had lower oxidation levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher total levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. But don't buy the chocolate farm just yet—the stuff is dense in calories and fat. Eat in moderation and you won't have to feel guilty!

Chocolate comes directly from the cocoa plant, known as cacao, which grows natively in West Africa, Central and South America and Asia. After the beans are harvested and dried, they’re crushed and mixed with fat (usually cocoa butter or oil) and sugar to create the rich, creamy sweet so many love.

3 Varieties...Each Unique

Milk Chocolate

This is the most popular chocolate with milk powder added to it to make it creamy. It’s lighter in color and is sweeter than the other types of chocolate.

Who would have known: Milk chocolate contains at least 12% milk (cream, milk powder or milk).

Ideal wine pairings: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Riesling

We recommend: Chocolate Chip Cookie-Stuffed Pies

Dark Chocolate

There are two types of dark chocolate: semisweet and bittersweet (which has less sugar than semisweet). Dark chocolate is much less sweet than milk chocolate but has fans who crave its bittersweet taste. It’s also used in baking far more than milk chocolate.

Who would have known? To be labeled dark chocolate, it has to be between 35% and 70% cocoa solids. The higher the cocoa content, the more bitter it will be.

Ideal wine pairings: Cabernet, Zinfandel

We recommend: Chocolate-Orange Cocktail Cookie Cups

White Chocolate

When you remove the cocoa liquor from milk chocolate, you end up with white chocolate, which has a creamy, rich taste.

Who would have known? Melt white chocolate with a little shortening to keep it from separating. In a microwave-safe glass bowl, add 1 teaspoon shortening to 1 cup white chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds. If the chips are not soft, try again for 15 seconds. (Once chips are soft, stop heating and stir until smooth.)

Ideal wine pairings: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc

We recommend: Double Peppermint Crunch Cookies 

That’s just a little “taste” of why chocolate stands on its own. Try some of our easy, decadent chocolate recipes for yourself…then pour a glass of wine and enjoy your own little sweet moment!