Dark Chocolate on the Rise....
Top-of-the-line chocolate is enticing Americans everywhere. According to Bloomberg.com, the Vienna, Virginia-based Chocolate Manufacturers Association says sales of gourmet dark chocolate rose 17 percent in the U.S. last year. Retail sales of all chocolate rose 3.9 percent to $15.1 billion, an amount that outpaced a 2.3-percent increase in all candy sales.
And New Yorkers are the pinnacle of chocolate connoisseurs. They are demanding chocolates made of rare cacaos and even spending $100 a box for bonbons enhanced by flavors that range from chipotle chili peppers and kalamata olives to Earl Grey tea.
At Per Se, Thomas Keller's year-old restaurant at the Time Warner Center where dinner for two easily surpasses $500, the captain explains the origin of the chocolate's cacao beans when he presents desserts. At Pierre Marcolini, a Belgian chocolate shop that opened on Park Avenue in February, clusters of $2.50 pralines are unveiled as seasonal collections, echoing the fashion industry.
"Chocolate is now what coffee was a few years ago,'' said Jacques Torres, a former James Beard Pastry Chef of the Year who opened the first New York chocolate factory to grind its own cacao beans. "People are starting to understand there's a difference between a $5-a-pound chocolate and what we do at $40 to $50 a pound.'' - Gourmet Retailer
Could it be that dark chocolate is healthier?
Researchers in Scotland and Italy say dark chocolate has much better anti-oxidant properties.
This means that it can protect the heart and arteries from oxidative damage, similar to the rust that develops on metal over time. - BBC
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