Chocoholics Unite: the Low-down on this Delectable Dessert

With various decorative designs and fillings, chocolate always seems to find its way into the hearts and taste buds of many on Valentine's Day.

Photo Credit: Darice Chavira

Wooing your sweetheart (or your sweet tooth) can be difficult sometimes, but usually chocolate is a fail-proof fallback. It is tasty indeed, but there is much more to this treat than meets the… mouth. Here are a few things to take note of before splurging on that heart-shaped box of decadence.

It’s good for you

There are many reasons why chocolate is so popular on Valentine’s Day. One of which is that this sweet treat is rumored to be an aphrodisiac, which is defined as a substance that increases sexual desire.

“I guess it must be an aphrodisiac because it gets all those endorphins going whenever you eat it!” said Krystal Craig, owner of Crave Artisan Chocolate. Craig has been making delectable chocolate treats for almost 10 years.

Consequentially, cinnamon, which has also been rumored to contain aphrodisiacal properties, is a secret ingredient in one of her specialty truffles. I guess that makes those the seductive demigods of truffles.

Chocolate is also loaded with healthy antioxidants and nutrients such as iron and fiber. It may not entirely be a substitute for kale, but it sure tastes a lot better.

Though, keep in mind that the health benefits you might receive from chocolate decrease in tandem with the percentage of cacao, so you can’t use these awesome guilt-reducing excuses for any chocolate that is less than 55 percent cacao. (Sorry milk-chocolate fans.)

It has a rich history

When we think of chocolate, we typically think of a bar, a truffle or a guilt-inducing pint of ice cream. But did you know that chocolate has only been a solid form for a relatively short amount of time? Chocolate was first enjoyed as a liquid by ancient civilizations. The Aztecs referred to this drink as “xocoatl.” (Try saying that out loud. I dare you.)

According to the Smithsonian, recent findings also suggest that the pulp surrounding the cacao bean was fermented and made into an alcoholic drink around 1400 BC.

“They should definitely start doing that again,” Craig said. Surely many college students would agree; this stuff was probably a lot better than ChocoVine, a chocolate wine.

It’s dang near impossible to get right

Working with chocolate is not for the faint of heart. It requires patience, perseverance and above all, tolerance of a cold kitchen.

“The Texas climate is really hard to work with,” said Edis Rezende, owner of Edis Chocolates. “The kitchen has to be really cold all the time or else the chocolate can melt or get sweaty.”

Edis Chocolates is a small, family owned dessert shop that has thrived since October 2011. Rezende makes all of the treats herself, which proves to be a full-time job. After all that work, she takes precautions so that the chocolates will make it to their destination safely, such as providing a free ice pack to each customer during the summer months.

Craig encounters the same problems when working in the Texas heat. She said she actually tries to make as many treats as she can during the winter so she might be able to make it through the summer without trying to combat the weather. She also advises against shipping chocolate during the summer.

“Shipping a box of truffles during the summer would cost almost $100, since it would have to be shipped overnight with ice packs,” Craig said. “At that point, its not even worth it.”

The art form

So why would anyone want to deal with these struggles to create the scrumptious mouthfuls that we love and enjoy? Experts like Rezende and Craig have learned that though chocolate is temperamental to work with, it is incredibly rewarding when you get it right. Their chocolates are not only tasty, but beautiful as well.