Trouble Chocolate

March 2012 Prof. Cassandra Lobiesk

Life is like a box of chocolates, eat everything on sight.

Coming off a February high where Eagle competitors raced around the world following a trail of chocolate, I have decided to dedicate this month's column to the fantasticness that is, yes, you've guessed it, chocolate. This tasty confection deserves an article over it because, heck, for all the pain I took looking up random brands to do the Chocolate Chase, I might as well let everyone else know the pain and agony I had when I stared at chocolates all day.

So, for those who are not familiar with chocolate at all, a brief history. (Though if you aren't familiar with chocolate, I suggest you get quite familiar, unless you have a chocolate allergy, then that's just bad luck...). Chocolate derives from cacao trees and was first cultivated in Mexico and the majority of the Central and South Americas in the olden golden days (think 3,000 years in the past and probably more). Heck, the Aztecs and Mayans and all those lovely ancient Native American civilizations in Central America practically swam in the stuff, and chocolate was definitely linked the Aztec commodity along with gold. When the Spaniards returned to the home base, naturally they brought scores of the stuff and--to put in Prof. Ulol Kimil's words--"stole" chocolate for themselves.

Well, extremities aside, I'd like to think that the Spaniards and Europeans helped "refine" what used to be the chocolate drink. From "bitter water," chocolate was refined to a point where sweetness became a major constant. And voila, from dark chocolate, you have milk and white chocolate. Delicious!

That said, you can practically use chocolate for a multitude of desserts; sundaes, muffins, cakes, doughnuts, cookies, pudding, croissants, cupcakes, name a number of desserts, and you can probably throw chocolate in it. Not to mention the fact that many companies actually produce chocolate bars in droves and droves.

So how else do I end this chocolatey disaster? By giving you my personal top 5 chocolate snacks (granted, I pretty much like chocolates, so um, yes):

Lindor Truffles - I definitely love the lovely hard shell on the outside and the delicious gooeyness of the inside. The dark chocolate ones are definitely fantastic, though I would never say not to mint and the regular milk chocolates, either!

Toblerone - This is probably more of a sentimental choice over taste, but I certainly won't say no to a little milk chocolate bar every now and again.

Peanut M&Ms - I don't care what anyone says about all the other colored M&Ms, it's clearly the yellow peanut that takes the cake! Red and Green and Blue, etc. can go away now, 'cause I won't miss them. Well, not that much anyway.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - There are definitely more ways to eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. But does it really matter? What matters is they all go into my tummy, right?

Ferrero Rocher - Clearly the winning chocolate. Like the Lindor Truffles, the Rocher has the delicious shell on the outside and the gooey Nutella-flavor spread on the inside. Why is this one much better than Lindt? The nutty exterior, of course!

Now that I've made you all want some chocolate, what's your favorite chocolate snack?