Have you noticed how chocolate has become practically synonymous with sinful indulgence? So much so, that many people fight their chocolate cravings on a daily basis. We talk about chocolate in hushed tones as if it were an illicit affair or dangerous siren, luring us in with its sultry aroma and intoxicating us with its melt-in-your-mouth texture. And if we dare cave and surrender to our desire … woe to us! For guilt and denial soon follow. Sound familiar?
While I certainly won’t deny its sweet sensuality and earthy addictiveness, chocolate in its original and purest form is anything but sinister—just ask Alton Brown. See unlike the stars of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, we here at Cooking Channel choose to Turn On the Dark. We’re talking dark chocolate, people — heaps and heaps of dark chocolate. Cooking Channel has a full week of rich chocolate-themed shows that will definitely hit the spot. We’re kicking Chocolate Week off at 8pm ET tonight with a Good Eats Special that will make you want to embrace your dark side. I won’t spill all the (cocoa) beans, since I really think you it’s worth staying up for a great episode, but here are a couple of fun factoids to peak your interest. Here’s some food for thought as we kick off Chocolate Week:
- “Chocolate” as we know it was first consumed as a beverage in Mexico. Long before there was scientific proof, the psychological benefits of chocolate was recognized by the Aztecs in Mexico. Moctezuma II or Montezuma, ruler of the Aztec Empire, was known to drink a warm cocoa mixture thickened with maize, vanilla and a touch of chile — the same mixture was fed to prospective human sacrifices to … to um, help them think happier thoughts.
- In addition to antioxidants and heart-healthy flavonoids, chocolate contains a small dose of theobromine — a stimulant (which makes you more alert), diuretic (bye-bye, water weight) and vasodilator (lowers blood pressure). But if you’re looking to get these health benefits, think dark thoughts — the darker the chocolate, the better.
Ready to give in to your desire with a little less guilt? Try Alton’s Cocoa Nib Hot Chocolate. Filled with a mix of dark and milk chocolates and pure cocoa nibs, it’s not just a drink — it’s an intense chocolate experience.
Cocoa Nib Hot Chocolate
Get our 50 best chocolate dessert recipes so you have enough to eat while you’re watching.