“There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with Chocolate . . .”
— The Absolute Truth from author Linda Grayson

If you truly love chocolate, you know that chocolate is a complete food, worthy of its own spot in the old Food Pyramid. It is the best friend you can have when you need a lift — or when you have something wonderful to celebrate. It is the most enjoyable when savored alone — or shared with one friend — or thirty. Some people think “naked chocolate,” not diminished by other ingredients, is the only way to truly get optimal chocolate flavor. On the other hand, the voices of other chocoholics are shouting that the addition of nuts/fruit/pretzels/hard candy bits only make the chocolate experience better. Everybody loves creamy milk chocolate . . . or decadent dark chocolate . . . or the white . . .

But what does make chocolate better — if that’s even possible? Quality and freshness are key, starting with the cocoa beans themselves. Depending where the beans are grown, they can mimic the flavors of their environment. (Did you know that chocolate harvested near banana plantations may actually have a banana-like nuance?) Care in growing, selecting, cultivating, sorting, handling, transporting, etc. is crucial. Meticulous roasting brings out subtleties, such as fruitiness, nuttiness, deeper or milder flavors. A good roast can make mediocre beans great. An inferior roast can spell ruination for a batch of quality beans.

And when ingredients are added, those, too, must be only of the highest quality. Only the freshest fruits, superior nuts, most flavorful spices are worthy of a relationship with chocolate.

“Soothing Temptations” make up March’s Heavenly Chocolate Selection from the Clubs of America Chocolate of the Month Club!



About the Author
Amy Heydt
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