Put your fork down. Back away from the wine glass. If there were ever a time to indulge in chocolate, it would be now. US News and World Report just published some info that even your cardiologist would approve of. Seven independent studies involving 114,000 people demonstrated that those who ate chocolate at least once a week lowered their risk of heart disease by 37 percent, their risk of diabetes by 31 percent, and their risk of stroke by 29 percent, compared to those who ate little or no chocolate at all. Even more encouraging, the researchers found no distinction between dark or milk chocolate varieties.
Encouraging findings like these don’t hit the stands (or the plate, for that matter) often. As such, I’ve made it my conviction to better my health and embark on a chocolate crusade. Here are my latest findings of intriguing chocolates now available, to all our hearts’ desires.
Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges Chocolates, enraptured the world’s taste buds with her quirky combinations of crisp bacon and velvet chocolate years ago. Now the Bon Appétit Food Artisan of the Year has released a 16-piece truffle box in time for fall. The creamy organic milk and dark chocolate bacon truffles rest softly in their handsome Vosges box, each sprinkled with either signature bacon caramel toffee or hickory smoked bacon. Katrina’s website insists, "Please consume within 10 days." I don’t think that will be a problem, Katrina. Bring home the bacon at VosgesChocolate.com.
Care for a Square?
Jer’s Chocolates, the much-admired pioneers of peanut butter and chocolate combinations, now counts squares in its collection of chocolate balls and bars. Jer’s Squares offer a "bite-sized" version of Jer’s All-Natural Peanut Butter Bars. The 11-time International Award-winning company puts peanuts on a pedestal, never using preservatives, additives, or fillers. If this wasn’t enough to make my heart swell with health and happiness, Jer’s Chocolates supports a number of esteemed nonprofits in its "Jer’s Cares" initiative. Make your heart happy at Jers.com.
Tease Me with Taza
The love of authentically made Mexican chocolate is apparent — from Taza’s sustainable factory to its blog that features gleeful employees concocting chocolate recipes. Taza’s cacao beans are stone ground in the traditional method used for centuries in the pre-Columbian era of Latin America. This fall I’m cozying up to a cup of Mexican hot chocolate made with Taza Cinnamon Chocolate Mexicano. This artisan batch is gingerly made with whole cinnamon sticks and cocoa nibs on a traditional Oaxacan stone mill. Bursts of berry, wisps of rich cinnamon, and the depth of the beans’ flavor will keep me on the couch and in front of the fireplace this entire season. Cuddle up with some at TazaChocolate.com. — Katherine Bond