Chocolate Talking Points

    People are beginning to talk about chocolate the same way they talk about wine.

     And that makes sense, since both are among life’s great pleasures – and are being served together by more and more restaurants. Among the more popular pairings: dark chocolate with Port, and chocolate cake with fruit-forward Zinfandel.

     Here are a few fascinating facts about chocolate that you can use to impress your friends… over a glass of wine, of course…

     * Africa produces 70% of the world’s cocoa crop, most of it from the Ivory Coast.

     * 3.6 billion pounds of chocolate candy were consumed in the U.S. in 2007. Allow us to do the math: That’s 12 pounds per person.

     * The U.S. ranks 12th in the world in per capita chocolate consumption. The top three are Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Germany.

    * Cocoa cultivation has been traced back to the Olmec civilization (1500-400 B.C.) in what is now Honduras. Later, the Mayans and Aztecs used cacao beans as currency and made chocolate into a hot, spicy drink reserved for warriors, nobility and priests.

     * Of the people who buy chocolate for themselves, 67% do so because they’re having a chocolate craving.

     * Dark chocolate can be healthy for your heart. It contains high levels of flavanoids, antioxidants that can help reduce bad cholesterol and improve blood flow to lower blood pressure.

     * Chocolate does not contain much caffeine, contrary to popular belief. The average serving of milk chocolate has less than a cup of decaf coffee. But chocolate does contain theobromine, which is a stimulant.

     * Chocolate has not been proven to be an aphrodisiac. It contains tryptophan, which is a building block of serotonin, as well as phenylethylamine, a chemical released when people fall in love. But the amounts in chocolate are too small to have any measurable effect on desire, researchers say. (Hey, nothing is perfect.)



Posted in Vinesse Style
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