Friday, February 13, 2009

Heart Healthy Chocolate

So you're standing in the store, staring at an assortment of chocolate that can only be described as mind-boggling. Our natural instinct is to go for the prettiest one. Especially at Valentine's Day, glitzy or cute packaging can make that decision for us.

But the heart-healthy chocolate might just be the quiet, unassuming one in the plain wrapper. Scharffen Berger is an American chocolate company that is turning out products that can rival European chocolate. Made in small batches on vintage European machinery, Scharffen Berger uses methods that produce incredible heart-healthy chocolate.

Dark chocolates are loaded with anti-oxidants and have even been shown to lower blood pressure. Basically, dark chocolate means there's less or no milk involved. Scharffen Berger offers dark chocolate for every taste. The bars are labeled with percentages -- 62%, 70%, 82%, 99% -- which indicate the percentage of cacao bean in the chocolate. The higher the percentage, the darker and less sweet the chocolate.

I admit that 82% and 99% are a bit high for my taste, though they're wonderful cooking chocolates. Semisweet at 62% and bittersweet at 70% will appeal to more palates for noshing. And to make it more celebratory, enjoy a glass of red wine with your chocolate. Who knew being healthy could be so much fun?

Five cupcakes!

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