Sunday, April 23, 2006

Chocolate addiction

I used to think people who called themselves chocoholics were just using an addiction they could safely admit publicly. You surely agree with me it is easier, more chic and delicious, to confess "I am addicted to chocolate" than "I am addicted to booze, drugs, and whatnot". Our friend Leeann, who when she lived right in our neighborhood, would come running to my kitchen if I only mentioned a new chocolate creation I had just hatched, was having lunch at my house last year with her family. At the end of Birkat Hamazon, I asked my guests if any of them would like to take home some chocolate truffles. Everyone made some polite answer, but Leeann, who was still benching and couldn't talk, frantically waved her arms and pointed to herself, making urgent sounds: MMMMM, MMMMM. Needless to say, everyone made room for the addict and had a good laugh while they watched her gather all chocolate remains securely in a ziplock bag.
But recently I had the proof first hand that chocolate addiction is REAL, thanks to my granddaughter, two and a half years old, who inadvertently supplied the litmus test. During a recent Shabbos dinner, she was holding her bottle in one hand, and a half banana in the other, sipping and munching contentedly, when I brought in a chocolate mousse. At the sight of the dessert, she dropped everything on the floor, and stretched her arms in distress, screaming at the top of her lungs: "shloclet! shloclet!". What nachas, seeing her run her tongue meticulously all around her mouth to catch the dribblings, rather than let us wipe them off with a napkin, G-d forbid! Now, I ask you, what kind of cynical observer would accuse a baby of some affectation or pretense? Oh, and Leeann, forgive me if I doubted you!!! I guess chocoholics don't age. I miss you, your wonderful daughters, your husband, your chocolate raids. BTW, is it time to replenish your supplies? Or did you wipe out that 11 pound Callebaut Bar?

Do you know if there something about chocolate that is actually addictive? Like the caffeine for example or something in the cocoa.
There is an ingredient in chocolate that gives you a buzz, and that is somewhat addictive, although the addiction to chocolate as we know it really comes from the love of the flavor. But the benefits of chocolate as being a powerful antioxydant far outweigh its risk of being addictive. 2 disclaimers though: You cannot eat it with great abandon, because then it becomes too caloric a treat; second, when we talk about good-for-you chocoalte, we are talking about black eating chocolate, not the kit-kat, mars, etc.... bars, and their Chalav Israel counterparts, which contain very little chocolate and a lot of fat and sugar for our own comfort. When buying chocolate, make sure it is the good authentic kind: no heimish brands (paskez, shufra, etc...) because their ratio of chocolate to sugar is so low and their flavor therefore so mediocre. Rather: Hersheys, Callebaut, Shmerling, etc...
Are Callebaut chips kosher parve?
This is most interesting: I always get them from food service, and they are emphatically labeled OK pareve. Then I hear that in their retail packaging, they are listed Kosher dairy.
Meanwhile, until you clear this, call the Peppermill, in Brooklyn, or Kerekes, also in Brooklyn. Their info is easy to find, and place an order with them. They are top of the line, and all kosher. Also, you should know that the institutional chocolate chips and other chocoalte products (shoprite, cosco, etc...) while not luxurious and not glamorous, are nevertheless REAL and genuine, so they will do the job!
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