As you peel back the wrapper to reveal your chocolate treat, you’re joining people from all over the world who have turned chocolate into sustenance for cultural rituals, medicine and of course, sheer pleasure. But before you sink your teeth into that piece of pure decadence in its simplest form, you might want to see some chefs work their magic to create chocolate masterpieces first.
The benefits of dark chocolate
The benefits of having a hunk of dark chocolate regularly is immense. Hey, even the scent of chocolate alone is said to increase theta brain waves which trigger relaxation! Really, the last thing you should feel when you tuck into your favourite dark chocolate is guilt as the products of cacao plant, especially high quality dark chocolate, are said be good for your body.
Generally, the closer the chocolate product is to the original cocoa bean, the higher the nutritional benefit will be. However, the untreated cocoa bean is extremely bitter which is why it is treated to make it more palatable. To get the most out of your chocolate, go for one which has a high cacao content, which is usually semi-sweet or dark chocolate. Since it contains a lot of antioxidants, dark chocolate can help your cardiovascular system by reducing your blood pressure. Besides antioxidants, the flavonoids found in cocoa products contain anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting effects that improve insulin sensitivity, thus reducing the risk of diabetes. On top of that, it widens your arteries which in turn promotes healthy blood flow that can prevent the build-up of plaque that is known to block arteries.
Oh, and if you still need a reason to have some dark chocolate every day, here’s one: it reduces the risk of heart disease by 1/3.
The best dark chocolate
Even then, not all dark chocolates are made equal as choosing a high quality one is another matter entirely. Plenty of high end, Michelin-starred restaurants wield the Valrhona chocolate name as if it is the epitome of ultimate quality and indulgence. Who can blame them, though? Right from 1922, Vivrais Chocolate Factory founder, Albéric Guironnet, who is also a French pastry chef, has fulfilled his philosophy of using the best to make the best. The factory, based in the small town of Tain-l’Hermitage in Hermitage, a wine-growing district near Lyon, would go on to be the source of the Valrhona brand in the 1950s. Valrhona’s is generally considered to be one of the best chocolate manufacturers on the planet as its products are used in some of the finest restaurants in the world to create some of the most majestically gourmet chocolate pleasures, including the legendary chocolate croustillant at Le Louis XV in Monaco.
The best dark chocolate in Singapore
Haute Cuisine “Le Gourmet” menu by Private Chef Edwin Phua featuring a bitter chocolate hazelnut.
Chocolate Indulgence menu by famous Master Chocolatier featuring 7 courses, all based on chocolate. Curious? We bet.
Little Italy menu by passionately Italian chef Felix Chong featuring Chocolate Lava Cake with orange triple sec mousse, butter scotch ganache and caramelized pistachio. Too good to be true.
World Chocolate Masters
Every two years, some of the world’s greatest culinary talents converge at the World Chocolate Masters, the world’s leading international competition dedicated entirely to the art of chocolate. Born in 2005, the competition is a merger of Cacao Barry’s Le Grand Prix International de la Chocolaterie and Callebaut’s International Belgium Chocolate Award. World Chocolate Masters selections are held in various countries across the globe before it culminates in a three-day grand finale which will see over 20 contestants battling it out for the coveted title. Contestants will have to integrate a given theme into everything they do, which includes everything between their choice of ingredients for each masterpiece to the aesthetics of their gastronomic chocolate creations. Arguably, the world’s best chocolate works of art are created in this very competition under the watchful eyes (and the immense pressure!) of the esteemed judges and the rest of the world.
If you agree, that a little chocolate every now and then doesn’t hurt, comment below which Chocolate dessert is your guilty pleasure?