2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1⁄ 4 cup unsweetened
cocoa powder (natural or
6 ounces bittersweet choco-
late, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄ 4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons confectioners’
1. In a saucepan combine the
milk, cream and cocoa powder.
Cook over medium heat,
stirring to dissolve the cocoa
powder. Add the chopped
chocolate and stir until it is
thoroughly melted and smooth.
Bring the mixture to a simmer,
but do not boil, and cook for
5 minutes, stirring often.
2. Remove the saucepan from
the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Continue to stir to cool the
mixture slightly, then pour into
3. Whip the cream until it is
frothy. Sprinkle on the confectioners’ sugar and continue
to whip until the cream holds
soft peaks. Place a large scoop
of whipped cream on top of
each cup of chocolate and
Makes 4 servings.
Copyright 2005 by Carole Bloom. All rights reserved
Costco offers a variety of fine
assortments from leading chocolatiers around the world such as
Bouchard l’Escaut, Daskalidès,
Neuhaus, Gudrun and Devas.
Another popular product is the
“All Chocolate” assortment featuring favorite pieces from
Hershey’s and Nestlé (and Mars,
beginning in March), made exclusively for Costco.
modern age. A British nutritionist, Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby, recently announced that eating two pieces
of his Doctor’s Chocolate will relieve daily stress and
“put the joy back in living.” (Sounds like Brave New
World: “You do look glum! What you need is a gram
What’s the truth?
Chocolate clearly has healthful attributes, says
Leah Porter, vice president of scientific affairs for the
CMA ( www.chocolateusa.org). The cocoa bean is a
good source of antioxidants called flavanols, which
are made by plants, apparently to ward off insect
pests and diseases—and may do similar good things
in humans. (Other flavanol-rich foods are apples,
blueberries, nuts, tea, purple grapes and red wine.)
The darker the chocolate, the better. Also, studies
have found the cocoa butter in chocolate to be one
of the “good fats,” like olive oil, in that it doesn’t raise
“The research so far indicates there are potential
health benefits in consuming cocoa and chocolate,
as part of a balanced diet and as part of an overall
healthy lifestyle,” says Porter. She quickly adds, “We
emphasize that cocoa and chocolate need to be consumed responsibly, in moderation.”
The problem, points out Clay Gordon, a
Costco member in Larchmont, New York, and editor and publisher of chocophile.com, is that most
of the chocolate we eat isn’t just chocolate—it’s
sugar, milk products and the rich, creamy high-fat
fillings found in truffles and Gump’s goodies.
“In general, everything that is a negative connotation with chocolate can be attributed to its fat
and sugar content. And, primarily, the butterfat
content,” says Gordon. “Everything that is good that
we associate with chocolate is in the cocoa powder.
So although chocolate does have healthy aspects to
it, it does need to be eaten in moderation because of
the high fat content associated with it.”
Scientists have also examined exactly what happens when we eat chocolate—and why we come back
for more (and more). Chocolate kicks off chemical
reactions in the brain, specifically mood-lifting
endorphins. One recent study by Oxford researchers
found that just showing mouth-watering pictures of
chocolate to subjects turns on brain pleasure centers.
But equally alluring may simply be the sense of
indulgence we get in a good piece of chocolate.
“There’s a very strong textural component to this,”
says Gordon. “There has been some research that suggests that one of the most addictive properties to
chocolate is the way it feels melting in your mouth.
That is what gets most people going.”
Or, as one character in the film Chocolat sighs,
“It tortures you with pleasure.”
The future is dark
One certainty about chocolate is this: We eat a
fair amount of it. Americans consume 3. 5 billion
pounds a year, which calculates out to about 12
pounds per person—not as much as the Swiss, who
eat about twice that amount.
Cacao pods grow directly from the trunk and
larger branches of the cacao tree. These pods,
each containing up to 50 beans, are approaching
maturity, as indicated by their reddish hue.
have higher amounts of cocoa, probably because of
news that chocolate has health benefits. “Chocolate
is moving upscale ... along similar lines as wine and
coffee,” reports Packaged Facts, the publishing division of MarketResearch.com.
And we’re finding new, creative ways of getting
it into our diets. Chic chefs might try the “Bass in
Coarse Sea Salt with Bitter Chocolate” recipe from
famous chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut,
toss roasted cocoa nibs on a salad (move over, pepper) or conjure up exotic pairings with chile peppers, ginger, curry and even grapefruit. We’re apt to
see new drinks, foods and seasoning sauces made
with natural cocoa powders—the pure, pre-sugared
stuff, delivering a wallop of antioxidants and feel-good chemicals right to the taste buds and on to the
brain. “I think you’ll see an increase in using cocoa
as a delivery mechanism, in foods and medications
and other things,” says the CMA’s Porter.
Ultimately, what is it really about chocolate? Not
even chocoholics are direct when asked. “For me, as
much as it is the taste of chocolate, it is actually the
interconnectedness, the relationship, the way that
chocolate brings people together, which is the exciting part for me—the fun and interesting part of it for
me,” muses chocolate expert Gordon. Adds Bloom,
“It’s like you’re treating yourself—you’re doing
something luxurious for yourself.”
Yes, that certain je ne sais quoi. C
Recipes for special chocolate treats
for Valentine’s Day (and any time of
the year) by Costco member Carole Bloom are featured in this month’s Online Edition. See costco.com
and click on “Costco Connection Magazine.”