Most of you have read my praise of CHOCOLATE BLISS. I told you there about one source for many fine chocolates from around the world. Now Springfield, Missouri, has one of the gourmet chocolate factories in the world, producing single source chocolate bars with NO fillers, lecithin, etc. You have a choice of 85 gram bars of cocoa from
- San Jose del Tambo, Ecuador which consists of 70 % pure cocoa beans (including 2% Askinosie cocoa butter) and 30% cane sugar. This little town has been producing cocoa for over 200 years but this is the first available in a remarkably pure chocolate bar
- Soconusco, Mexico which was a center of Aztec cocoa production. There has not been a chocolate from this area outside Mexico in 100 years. This bar contains 75% pure cocoa beans (including 2% Askinosie cocoa butter) and 25% cane sugar.
Shawn Askinosie was for many years a leading defense attorney. Now he and his staff are producing fine chocolate from scratch, with pure cocoa beans. They start with unique source beans and prepare their own cocoa butter, cocoa syrup, etc. I had the pleasure of touring Shawn’s factory recently and now can recommend his dark chocolate bars for the true connoisseur.
Shawn also gave me a copy of a wonderful book NAKED CHOCOLATE by David Wolfe and Shazzie. Cocoa trees originated in Central and South America. They produce a large papaya shaped fruit, which has a delicious sweet pulp and 20 to 30 cocoa seeds (beans), about enough to make 3 to 4 high quality chocolate bars. The Spanish Conquistadors found the true gold of America in these cocoa trees and began the distribution of them throughout the world, between 20 degrees south or north of the equator.
Cocoa beans contain 1200 chemicals, including my favorite, anandamide (bliss amide), tryptophan as well as serotonin itself, tyrosine ( a foundation amino acid for norepinephrine) as well as dopamine itself, magnesium, and phenylethylamine (the love chemical)—all these helpful for mood as well as health in general, as are the generous dose of antioxidants (a whopping 10% by weight)! And the fats in the cocoa bean are equally high quality. There are a variety of vitamins and minerals. Even a few squares of dark chocolate daily markedly improve ability of coronary arteries to dilate, partly because of its high content of arginine. Add to this cocoa‘s benefit in lowering LDL cholesterol, its anti-clotting contribution, and the finding that chocolate lovers live longer than abstainers. It is critical to note that milk reduces all the health benefits of chocolate. And cocoa has less caffeine than tea or coffee. Remember that dark chocolate is also a delightful appetite inhibitor. Pure chocolate is health and mood blisserizer.