An article in last week’s Wall Street Journal online mentioned one of the good guys of the chocolate world, and a recent accomplishment for him. Switzerland-based Barry Callebaut AG, one of the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers, recently received the blessing of the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) to stake the claim that the flavanols found in dark chocolate are good for blood circulation.
While a final decision on the issue will come from the European Commission sometime next year, the declaration is a good, but not surprising sign for anyone who loves their daily dark dose. And perhaps even better, Callebaut (European) customers who use their chocolate in such products as cereal bars and beverages could also, by extension make the same health claim. Callebaut did almost two dozen studies over the last seven years, perfecting a process to preserve the majority of flavanols, rather than use a more conventional process that destroys them. The company’s hard work paid off, making them the first chocolate manufacturer in the EU to be allowed to use the health claim.
There is an economic side to all this, of course. According to Euromonitor, the sales of food and beverages in the health/wellness category is slated to be somewhere around $691 billion by 2015, up from $601 billion in 2010. Of course, some cynics would say that all this is just pushing the junk food envelope even more. Add dark chocolate to cookies and suddenly they become good for you? No one is suggesting that the addition of dark chocolate or cocoa means going through an entire bag or package with complete impunity at a single sitting. You still have the fat, calorie and sugar component to consider, dark chocolate or not. All this news does is add a little more fuel to the discussion fire, and provides one more reason for those of us who were going to indulge in our daily fix anyway to go ahead and do so.
And speaking of fixes, the NYC stash is finally starting to get whittled down. Here’s a few more samples:
- Snake and Butterfly 67% Venezuelan: A California-based company, this was exactly four little squares, 1.75 ounces of chocolate in the entire bar. And it’s not enough. But ten times the amount would not be enough. It’s labeled as “Organic Live Chocolate.” Whatever it means, it’s good. Sharp, tangy, butter-deep flavor.
- TCHO Madagascar Organic 67% Citrus: This San Francisco-based company offers another small bar with a long story on the package on how the beans are grown, harvested and roasted. The citrus is light but present from beginning to end, and this is honestly one of the few organic bars I can handle.
- Pacari Ecuadorian 72%: The good news: it’s kosher, USDA-certified organic. Not so good: grainy, chalky and pretty much in line with most organics I’ve had.