Doctor's Orders: Eat More Chocolate

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I know it's not really the height of chocolate season right now, but I've nevertheless had highly heightened chocolate awareness and increased consumption of late. Interestingly, my increased consumption didn't actually didn't originate in the food world. Turns out when I went to my doctor for my annual check up he recommended that to help keep my blood pressure from getting too high I should eat an average two ounces of dark chocolate a day.

You did read that right.

Not being the hugest chocolate fanatic that was a nice recommendation, but it didn't quite get me as excited as it would many people. That said, it didn't exactly bum me out either. I mean, given how much great dark chocolate we sell, what could be bad about that prescription? I figured that since that this was going to be the most benign--if not downright enjoyable--medical recommendation I was likely to ever get, I should jump on it.

The doctor's recommendation is to actually eat a bit over half a bar. Every day!

Not really thinking it through I assumed that "two ounces" would be two of those little squares and the bars I bought would last me for a while. Turns out, when I actually re-read the label and re-realized what I've always known: A whole bar of good chocolate is actually a bit under four ounces. Which means that the doctor's recommendation is to actually eat a bit over half a bar. Every day!

That might be enough to make a chocolate fanatic wish for higher blood pressure just to get this same prescription. But I think in this case you don't actually have to a problem to take the prescription; you could probably just increase your cacao consumption as preventative maintenance.

Anyways, I was at the Deli the next day and thought I'd buy a few bars and try this thing out. Figured five was a good start. Grabbed a few of Shawn Askinosie's cause I know I've been very high on those. Also the Cluizel bar from the Dominican Republic, which I love because it has that strange to say, but definitely there anyways, hint of good green olives in the flavor. And I picked up one of those Cuban chocolate from Pralus because I've always found its flavor intriguing.

That left me one more to try. In hindsight maybe it was the Cuba thing that started the intrigue--I think that technically we're not really supposed to be selling it because it's from Cuba, but somehow the customs folks seem to keep missing it, probably because it's chocolate not cigars and it comes in from France--that karmically led to the craziness that seems to surround Amedei .

I liked all of the bars, and because I knew the Amedei least it caught my attention enough to want to write it up here.

Duff, our chocolate expert, was particularly excited when this one came in a few months ago. "Low and lean. Meaty. Thicker texture. Not for the sweet of heart," is what I think she wrote at the time. But in honesty I have to admit to being a bit underwhelmed by it when I first got home and tried it--the first few times I ate it, it seemed almost dryish and not totally all that exciting. I actually ate most of the other four bars that I'd bought and without really thinking about it left half of this one laying round while I went on to replenish my supplies after a week or so (like I said, two ounces a day is a lot of chocolate!).

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Ari Weinzweig is co-founder of Zingerman's Community of Businesses, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is also the author of Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating. More

After graduating from University of Michigan with a degree in Russian history, Ari Weinzweig went to work washing dishes in a local restaurant and soon discovered that he loved the food business. Along with his partner Paul Saginaw, Ari started Zingerman's Delicatessen in 1982 with a $20,000 bank loan, a staff of two, a small selection of great-tasting specialty foods, and a relatively short sandwich menu. Today, Zingerman's is a community of businesses that employs over 500 people and includes a bakery, creamery, sit-down restaurant, training company, coffee roaster, and mail order service. Ari is the author of the best-selling Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating and the forthcoming Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon.
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