Throughout the pandemic people have turned to their favorite foods to bring them joy. However, with a new focus on wellness, people are taking a fresh approach to classic comfort foods. Chocolate is the perfect example - as sales soar globally, dark chocolate is emerging as a top food trend, offering indulgence you can feel good about.
What is dark chocolate?
Chocolate features cocoa powder, which comes from the cocoa bean. This powder is unsweetened and bitter before being used as a main ingredient in recipes. Traditional milk chocolate adds high amounts of sugar and fat, but dark chocolate has higher levels of cocoa powder and fewer unhealthy additions.
According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, dark chocolate contains 50-90% cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar, while milk chocolate contains 10-50% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, milk in some form and sugar. Some innovative chocolate companies are even coming out with sugar-free dark chocolate options.
Sugar-free dark chocolate
"As more everyday occasions call for celebrations with chocolate and we snack more at home, we wanted to offer a guilt-free and delicious option," shares Crystal Thomas, KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates chocolatier and production manager at Destination Kohler.
Without the excessive additives, dark chocolate can be a healthy part of a balanced diet and provide numerous benefits. Cocoa beans have flavanols, a type of phytonutrient with health-promoting properties. The Mayo Clinic points to research that the ingredients in dark chocolate can help reduce inflammation, lowers risk of heart disease, reduces blood pressure and more.
How to enjoy dark chocolate
Because of its healthy characteristics and indulgent taste, dark chocolate is a top food trend. Be inspired by these seven ways to enjoy dark chocolate:
Serve chocolate for dessert: Dark chocolate is a decadent dessert that impresses. It's also a time-saving option because there's no kitchen prep needed. Just plan ahead by buying high-quality dark chocolates and confections and serve a single piece or several on a small plate to each person.
Create a chocolate board: Much like a cheeseboard or charcuterie tray, a chocolate board presents a variety of dark chocolate and accompaniments in a visually impressive way. Start with a large tray or serving dish, fill with several varieties of dark chocolate grouped in an eye-pleasing way, and add extras such as nuts, pretzels and fresh berries.
Explore classic combinations: Dark chocolate complements classic flavors so you can satisfy curious taste buds. For example, KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates has a new Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar with a silky-smooth dark chocolate shell enveloping a velvety ganache filling of natural peanut butter, 72% chocolate and a dash of flaked sea salt.
Enjoy chocolate for breakfast: Chocolate can be a healthy part of breakfast when you keep unsweetened cocoa powder on hand. Try sprinkling this powder on top of cereal, oatmeal or toast in the morning. You can also add some to your morning smoothie for a chocolatey boost.
Make it a mocha: Melt a single piece of dark chocolate in your coffee in the morning for a rich mocha taste you can feel good about. Place a small piece in the bottom of your cup, pour coffee on top and then mix with a spoon. To speed up the process, microwave the chocolate for 10 seconds in your cup first to start the melting.
Try different pairings: The flavours of dark chocolate can be a wonderful pairing to other foods for a tasty snack or dessert any day. Try dark chocolate with nuts such as almonds, sweet fruits like banana or aged cheeses like Gouda. Dark chocolate also pairs nicely with coffee.
Give dark chocolate gifts: Whether as a hostess gift or to celebrate a special occasion, dark chocolate can be the perfect present.-BPT