food blogIt's Chocolate Lovers' Month!

Assorted chocolates
Chocolate wrapped in red or given in heart-shaped boxes are a staple of Valentine’s Day, filling the shelves of drug stores and gourmet shops alike.

In celebration of chocolate–and those who love it–we thought we’d do a quick tip sheet on the different kinds of chocolate to help you shop for a gift or narrow your own treat choices. There are three basic kinds sold as candy.

Dark chocolate: this is the richest chocolate which has no milk in it. It’s flavor comes from chocolate liquor (or cocoa liquor) from ground cocoa beans. It’s also the most expensive.
Milk chocolate: (like Hershey’s) This is a mix of cocoa liquor with milk and has a lighter flavor.
White chocolate is made from cocoa butter but no chocolate liquor or other cocoa products which give chocolate it’s taste.

Video: All about chocolate

Other variations of chocolate are used in cooking: semi-sweet, bittersweet and more. If you are a baker, here’s a how-to temper chocolate without burning and a cluster of recipes to try at home.

Chocolate is celebrated in almost every culture and chocolatiers in the US have managed to find almost 30 days/ways to honor the variations in uses and tastes. So in addition to Chocolate Lovers’ Month, you can find an excuse each month to praise some kind of chocolate like Chocolate Mint Day (Feb. 19), Chocolate Mousse Day in May and Chocolate Ice Cream Day in June. (For a full list, check out FarmFlavor.com’s list.)

Chocolate is not only decadent and delicious, it has properties that are heart healthy. So that’s another good excuse to enjoy some.

By the way, February is also National Cherry Month – after all the two do go together. Not to be left out, here are a couple of cherry treats for you to try: Cherry Turnovers or a Cherry Basil Collins cocktail.

Cheers!
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