I was always insulted when someone would pick dark chocolate over milk chocolate. With my mom or grandma, choosing it was always followed by “it’s healthy for you!”. I despised dark chocolate… because it was healthy for you! It was supposed to be candy, a treat, for special occasions. I don’t want that to be healthy.
My grandma would always talk about how red wine was good for you too. So she would eat a piece of dark chocolate along with a glass of red wine almost every day. My mom couldn’t complain with that science, and often followed suit. I never drank wine so I couldn’t agree, but I could disagree with the fact that dark CHOCOLATE could be healthy for you. As a child, I would take a few Hershey’s kisses, place them in a tiny plastic bowl, and microwave them until they were melty. Next, I would eat it. With a spoon.
My freshman year of college I travelled to Quebec. One of the places I visited was a chocolate museum. I love museums, I love chocolate, how could this be bad?? Well it wasn’t. I loved every second in that place and quite frankly would have been happy never to leave. One of the stops on the “tour” of the small museum was a little red dispenser that is usually used to dispense gumballs or bouncy balls, but this one had dried cocoa beans. I had never had straight up cocoa but I was infamously known in our small group of travelers as the one who loves chocolate. So, I was voted to try it. And… It didn’t taste like chocolate at all. It was weird. I did not enjoy it but at the same time, I respected myself for trying it. It was natural, and true. Thus I began to respect all chocolate.
There was a video at the museum about a boat made out of chocolate. In my French class in Quebec, I created a restaurant named Disco Chocolat, and the tables were made out of chocolate, the silverware and plates and cups too! No one thought this was a good idea besides me. (And the restaurant would be playing the Bee Gees in the background with a disco ball and a huge dance floor.)
I think I hated dark chocolate until about a year ago. I was in the car with my aunt, and she offered me some chocolate. I accepted, and as I began to taste it, it was… different. It was dark chocolate! At least 85% cocoa. I was upset, but at the same time, I didn’t hate it. I was angry with myself. “How could you enjoy this? You better spit it out now!” I could hear my inner voice scream. As an adult, I have grown to like dark chocolate. Any time I get my hands on something other than Mensa food is a gift, and it must be appreciated.
In Costa Rica, a few months later, we got to eat the seeds straight from the cocoa plant. I got to see the green plant which chocolate comes from! It made the idea of chocolate less fun for me, and healthier, again which the child in me did not thoroughly enjoy.
Food is just fun. It’s the best part of travelling, and it gets you to open up to new things that you wouldn’t try otherwise. I don’t love dark chocolate now, but I was in the store once, and bought Endangered Species Chocolate, 72% cocoa, where the proceeds went toward saving chimpanzees, an at-risk species. This was the first time I bought dark chocolate but will not be the last.