Guide to Cheese Types
Gourmet Chocolate - Gourmet Guide
June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly
Gourmet Chocolate has been enjoyed by man for thousands of years. The product of the cacao seed, Gourmet Chocolate originated in the Amazon and spread through the Mayan and Aztec cultures in Mexico and Central America. During these times, chocolate was a liquid drink. In the 1500s, chocolate was introduced to Spain and then Europe by the Spanish Conquistadors. Chocolate was then considered to be a gourmet food reserved only for royalty and nobility until mass production in the late 1700s and the Industrial Revolution enabled chocolate to be consumed worldwide. In the 1800s it was discovered that Gourmet Chocolate could be produced in a solid form and eaten out of the hand. In the late 1800s the Swiss created a new Gourmet Chocolate product by adding milk, called their new creation "milk chocolate". Today, while the US is the largest chocolate importer, Switzerland is the largest per capita chocolate consumer.
As chocolate is available in many different varieties and formats today, the development of Gourmet Chocolate has grown over the past several years. The most important consideration is the type of cacao beans that are used in production of the chocolate. The quality of the bean is determined by where it was harvested and the growing methods used to cultivate the bean. The Gourmet Chocolate making process also determines the quality of production. While Belgian chocolate is often considered to be the gourmet standard, the Swiss are well known for their superior chocolate and their refinement of chocolate manufacturing techniques. Italy, France and the US also lay claim to some of the world's greatest producers of Gourmet Chocolate.
Gourmet Chocolate Health Benefits
Recent studies have shown that eating the dark variety of gourmet chocolate can be good for your health. Dark chocolate is derived from the cacao bean which is full of healthy plant nutrients and antioxidants. Antioxidants are natural compounds found in fruits and vegetables that protect cells from free radical damage. Free radicals may change the structure of healthy cells and possibly trigger diseases. Dark gourmet chocolate is high in flavonoids (a sub-class of the antioxidant polyphenol) that help neutralize these dangerous free radicals. In addition, dark gourmet chocolate is higher in antioxidants than both milk and white chocolate and has a concentration so high that more than 10% of the dry raw cacao bean's weight comes from polyphenols. In fact, just 2 tablespoons of natural cocoa contains more antioxidant power than 4 cups of green tea or a cup of blueberries.
Antioxidants in dark gourmet chocolate support heart health, healthy cholesterol levels and in some cases a decrease in blood pressure. Dark gourmet chocolate also has a low measurement on the glycemic index, and will not cause a spike and crash in blood sugar. Dark gourmet chocolate contains important minerals such as copper, which helps support heart health, magnesium which may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, potassium, known to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke, and calcium, which supports bone health.
Dark gourmet chocolate also contains over five hundred natural compounds some of which elevate the mood and have positive effects on the brain. Dark gourmet chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, a mild stimulant similar to caffeine, and phenylethylamine, which releases endorphins, or feel good chemicals, into the brain. Today, encouraged by positive finding on the health benefits of dark gourmet chocolate, research continues to measure the effects of dark gourmet chocolate on everything from memory to risk of cancer.
Gourmet Chocolates On Sale
Our Gourmet Chocolate selection includes Belgian, Swiss, German, artisan and just about every other major variety. When searching for gourmet chocolate online, look no further than igourmet.com.
igourmet also sells a wide selection of chocolate gifts and chocolate gift baskets. Know a friend who loves chocolate? What better gift could you send than an igourmet.com gourmet chocolate gift basket? Chock full of candy and truffles - available in both dark and milk - our chocolate gifts are sure to impress. For the true connoisseur, send a gift of single varietal chocolates from Peru or a collection of truffles filled with exotic, all natural flavors.