Happy Valentine’s Day! And do you know what that means? Roses? Cards? Well, yes, but to me, it means chocolate. Today is probably the biggest day of the year for the gifting of chocolate. In fact, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate will be sold for V. Day. Wow, that’s a lot of chocolate. And a lot of happy Valentine sweethearts. Americans eat between 10-12lbs. of chocolate per year. But we are way behind the Swiss, who consume the most in a year—22-24lbs.! (All that skiing must keep them thin.) However, chocolate consumption tends to be much lower in African and Asian countries. The Chinese, for example, eat one chocolate bar for every 1,000 bars eaten by the British.
Here are a few quick facts about this sweet, delicious food of the Gods we call chocolate:
• Chocolate is North America’s favorite flavor: 52% of adults surveyed like chocolate best with vanilla and fruit flavored coming a distant second at 12%.
• Several medical studies show that eating chocolate in moderation can actually prolong your life by reducing risk of blood clots and fighting bad cholesterol. (YES!)
• In general, the shelf life for chocolate is a year. (OK, show me a house where chocolate sits around for a year. Seriously, I barely get mine from the car to the house.)
• U.S. chocolate manufacturers use 3.5 million pounds of whole milk every day to make chocolate.
• The largest chocolate bar ever made weighed over 5,000 pounds and was made in Italy in 2000. (And I bet even that one didn’t last more than a week before it was gone.)
• Eating chocolate stimulates the brain’s opioid production. Opioids are chemicals responsible for diminishing pain sensations, enhancing pleasurable ones, and creating a sense of overall well-being. (And guess what, those are the same things that happen when we fall in love. Oh…my, no wonder boys and chocolate go together.)
Honestly, chocolate always makes me feel better. How about you? I can remember reaching for Three Musketeers bar to get over a break up. And it did help, I swear. In fact, did you know that in the late 1800s, physicians sometime even prescribed chocolate as medicine? They claimed that eating chocolate could cure one’s “love-inflicted pining.” So, maybe those old time doctors knew their stuff.
So, how about it? Are you a fan of chocolate? Or are you in the 12% with those who prefer vanilla? What about dark chocolate versus milk chocolate? And where does white chocolate fit in to all this?
Whatever you prefer, I hope your honey gives you your favorite for Valentine’s Day.
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