Thoughts turn to chocolate in February

This piece appeared in the Feb. 2013 edition of  “North of 68,” a coffee-news type monthly paper, distributed in areas north of Hwy. 68 in Manitoba’s Interlake…by Teresa Carey


In the mood for love? If not, go out and find some good chocolate, because the connection  between chocolate and passion is not just anecdotal. Chocolate really can put you in the mood, studies confirm, making it perhaps the world’s most delicious aphrodisiac.

Writer Doreen Pendgracs of Matlock concurs. She has been intensively studying chocolate for over three years, travelling the globe in search of the world’s best chocolate in the course of doing research  for her upcoming book.

“There is indeed a biological connection, Pendgracs says. “Chocolate releases endorphins. When you’re in a good mood, you’ll do just about anything!”

Chocolate has been likened to a drug by one chocolate maker whom Pendgracs met in Belgium in 2009, who told her, “I make people happy every day.”

Fortunately, chocolate is one ‘drug’ that can be good for you, possibly even improving cardiovascular health and  having potential cancer-fighting properties. Chocolate is now considered by some to be a super food–just watch that sugar intake though!

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll now want to go out and get your own stash, either to indulge in by yourself or with your Valentine.

Pendgracs offers some advice on how to go about choosing the right chocolate. She likens choosing chocolate to choosing a fine wine or coffee.

“If you like a deep rich-bodied wine or a dark, bold coffee, you are more likely to enjoy a dark, bold chocolate,” Pendgracs says.

Rich, deep chocolates derive from Peru and Ecuador where cacao is grown. Other deep, rich chocolates come from Italy and Spain. For a “bold, knock-you-down flavour” also try chocolate from Madagascar or the Caribbean, Pendgracs suggests.

For those whose preference is for milder-tasting coffees, Pendgracs says to try chocolates from Belgium, France, Holland or Switzerland. These chocolates are lighter tasting and have a smooth, silky texture.

If you can’t travel the globe like Pendgracs does, do not fret. Pendgracs says there is good chocolate to be had right here in Manitoba. She recommends Constance Popp Chocolatier in Winnipeg, and Truffles Artisan Chocolates in Oakbank.

Both offer excellent chocolate, each with their own specialties, like Beet Truffles and hand-dipped red licorice.

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About Teresa

Teresa Carey is a ceramic artist, writer, photographer, journalist, publisher and nature lover. She lives in Manitoba's Interlake on a small acreage close to the shores of Lake Winnipeg.

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