Here’s a little about me…
I am a chocolate aficionado, so much so that I eat a brownie with two forks. There’s a fork for eating and a fork for protection from unwanted invaders. My dad is medically diagnosed as part K-9 because he eats anything in front of him, especially my brownies. My sister, the Drama Queen, does not understand that sharing is not in my vocabulary when chocolate of any kind is involved, and my mother, the Apache helicopter of chocolate thieves, will sneak into my personal space and take a small piece when I’m not looking.
I don’t remember when my relationship with chocolate first began. There are pictures of me in my terrible twos wearing nothing but chocolate. It was the ultimate reward, used as a lure to get me to eat the most despised of all dinner foods: ceviche.
But it’s not just the sweet taste that I love; chocolate is comfort. When my friends don’t pick up their phones, chocolate is there. Sometimes, chocolate is the only company I need on a late night or a rainy afternoon because the taste brings back a thousand happy memories of times spent with my family. Chocolate is the thing that brings us together, even if it is my fork almost connecting with my father’s hand.
Though with any relationship, there is good and bad, and I understand that too much chocolate can be dangerous. I learned this lesson the hard way on my birthday when devouring a huge cone of ice cream. My brain, supersaturated with the pleasure of sugar and cacao, did not register the dripping chocolate flowing down my hand onto my chair. When I came back with my second cone, I sat directly in the puddle of chocolate, not realizing until too late that my behind bore the marks of my passion. I realized then that I should limit my chocolate consumption so that I can fit into my few unstained clothes.
I have learned from my family that to love something, I must love all parts of it. It baffles me that there is a culture of people that refuse to eat milk chocolate, believing that if the chocolate is not dark, it’s not chocolate. They treat chocolate like wine, remarking on earthy and nutty tones, excluding chocolate that is not at least 70 percent of the cacao bean, discriminating against beans based on their fermentation or the region in which they are grown. I am not one of these snobs. I give all chocolates a chance, weighing them on their merit, rather than the label on the package.
Chocolate also has health benefits. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, quiets coughs helps keep the heart healthy, and improves blood flow. Most importantly, chocolate contains dopamine, which makes me happy, and it tastes like heaven.