The Chocolate bean belt is the place the sector’s Chocolate is grown. The Chocolate belt lies between the Tropics of Most cancers and Capricorn, 23.5 levels north and south of the equator. The Chocolate belt passes thru some 70 international locations, that have tropical climates that offer wealthy environments that are ideal for rising Chocolate.
1. THE BEANS ARE GROWN IN REGIONS CLOSE TO THE EQUATOR
The seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree (from the Greek for “food of the gods”), cacao beans are nestled inside football-shaped pods on the tree. Cacao is abundant in chemicals produced by the body but rarely found in foods, like anandamide (a bliss-inducing hormone you normally produce after exercise). Treat this queen of plant foods with some respect by buying chocolate from ethical makers. A “Fair Trade” stamp is a good indicator, though “Direct Trade” benefits the cacao farmer even more.
2. BEANS ARE HARVESTED, FERMENTED, DRIED, AND ROASTED
The beans become cocoa nibs bitter and intense, bursting with beneficial flavonoids and essential minerals like magnesium. Try using this crunchy power food in smoothie bowls or chia puddings, or eat it on its own as an energizing snack. You can drink ground roasted beans (from brands like Crio Bru) like coffee just steep and sip. The theobromine delivers a sustained lift without the caffeine jitters. (Note: “Raw” chocolate, which is processed at lower temperatures, claims to have the highest antioxidant levels of all.)
3. NIBS ARE GROUND, MIXED INTO A PASTE, AND SEPARATED FROM COCOA BUTTER TO DELIVER COCOA SOLIDS
Sugar is added at this stage to balance the bitter taste, but there’s no need for the super-sweet ratio of mass-market chocolate. Go low, with a bar touting at least 75 percent cacao content. (The higher the number, the “darker” and more intense the chocolate, and the lower the sugar.) And look for dairy-free: Some studies say that the milk (or milk powder) present in chocolate, even in many dark chocolate brands, will bind with the antioxidants and prevent full absorption.
4. THE CHOCOLATE-SUGAR MIX UNDERGOES CONCHING AND TEMPERING AND BECOMES . . . A CHOCOLATE BAR!
Check how many ingredients are listed—the fewer the better. The best dark chocolate always has chocolate liquor or cocoa listed as the first ingredient (and may also list cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and cocoa butter), with sugar at the end. Take a taste and notice the flavour: With few supporting players, you’ll enjoy discovering all kinds of cacao nuances, just like with wine.
5. NEW-WAVE ADD-INS BOOST THE BAR FURTHER
Artisanal chocolatiers are going wild with superfood and medicinal add-ins, using anything from spices and medicinal mushrooms too (yes) kale chips to give the bar extra-good properties and keep all your senses engaged. Get adventurous (but choose organic—dubious suppliers can sneak in all kinds of unwanted additives under the “flavors” tag).
6. A JAZZY LOGO, AND A HIGHER-THAN AVERAGE PRICE TAG, ADD THE FINAL TOUCH
You have in your hands a functional-food luxury. Treat your (sweetish) treat with reverence. Savour it, one small brick at a time. Chocolate is a renowned food for mindful eating practices—commit to using it that way by slowing down and sinking into the experience, becoming fully present with how it changes the way you feel and think