you know you have it. We all do. No, not that
, but Valentine’s Day -- that special day when humanity, engaged in a conspiracy of love, feels compelled to give heart-shaped boxes to prove our affections.
This VD, divorce Godiva and those who geek about cacáo’s "love compounds" found in "sultry" chocolate like "bliss chemical" anandamide
-- none, btw, in high enough concentrations to be aphrodisiacs by their lonesome. (Pssst, the secret to chocolate’s effects is in symbiosis.)
On Feb 14, put your love in a tube -- of chocolate toothpaste.
Theodent® harnesses the power of cacáo, specifically the active ingredient theobromine (an alkaloid belonging to the methylxanthine class) to build healthy teeth. Reduced here to a pure isolate, it protects teeth against decay, hardens enamel better than fluoride, & encourages maximum re-mineralization. Thank Dr. Arman Sadeghpour at Tulane University in New Orleans for this sweetest scientific discovery.
Not only does Theodent® promote oral hygiene, it makes the act of brushing better than roses. After a li’l dab, you'll be lip-to-lip en-route to, well -- click here to find out. (Need it fast? Like by tomorrow? Try Whole Foods.)
The Buddha & The Chocolate
Last month we brought you news of an off-the-grid origin in Solomon Islands
. This month we go way off the deep end to a country where even chocolate insiders are dumbfounded
(if not clueless), responding with vague mumblings about "Trinitarios
" (a label held in disregard) planted in the 1930s or 40s that are "maybe from Vietnam?"
Here’s the scoop: in a landscape dotted with as many Buddhist temples as opium poppies, amidst bloody social strife, Burma
has quietly been cultivating Theobroma cacao
This week the C-spot® posts the first-ever review of a premium bar from Burma
: Franck Morin’s Birmanie
. It carries the spirit of Burma's better side -- serene & flexible, bending with the wind yet strong
Today nearly every "single
" origin anoints itself with exotic trade names, like "Arriba Nacional
" and "La Red
". Burma could call theirs "Theobuddha Cacáo".
Chocolate Awards: Feast or Famine... or Fraud?
Like water, chocolate seems ubiquitous. With so much of it all around us, how can Theobroma cacao
ever possibly land on the endangered species list?
Enter Dr. Juan Carlos Motamayor, cacáo geneticist with the USDA who wrote a seminal paper in 2008 that reclassified the Theobroma
cacao species into 10+ varietals where before we thought there were only three. In the follow-on, the C-spot® facilitated a teleconference with him & members of the FCIA (Fine Chocolate Industry Association) during which Motamayor explained how cacáo’s genetic base has narrowed; that prized varietals are vanishing
; & the species’ diversity could be lost. To illustrate, he recounted an expedition to the Amazon Rainforest
where he spotted a cacáo type he’d never seen before. On a subsequent trip to study the tree again, he found the forest clear-cut for cattle ranching & soybean farming. The tree was gone forever.
Since then a consortium led by Guittard Chocolate Co.
, FCIA & the USDA has formed the Heirloom Cacáo Preservation Initiative (HCP). Its mission: protect, propagate & promote
cacao trees endowed with special value -- historic, cultural, botanical, geographical
& moreover organoleptic (flavor
). In short, the diamonds of cacáo.
Such a bold & ambitious initiative deserves support. Get involved, contribute & learn more
On the Chocolate Trail by Rabbi Deborah Prinz
Everyone knows folks insanely devoted to chocolate (ahem) but who knew Jews were meshuga (crazy) for it? Leave it to a yente Rabbi to get all faklempt over it.
Rabbi Debbie Prinz imbues her book with religious fervor as she wends her way thru the world of historical
chocolate in search of the world’s best. She ultimately finds it, based not so much on taste but on ethics.
While written for & about all faiths, Prinz tells the little told story of Jewish chocolate
. Who knew that the contemporary darlings -- the Mast Bros
-- work among a Jewish Hasidim community in Brooklyn
? That the Nazis booby-trapped chocolate bombs? That Jews fleeing the inquisition in Spain were on Columbus's ship
when Europeans first encountered cacáo in the New World?
On the Chocolate Trail
expresses a profound message: whether agnostic, atheist or believer, chocolate captivates, connects & elevates all
, nourishing the spirit. That is its higher power.
Rabbi Deborah Prinz walks tall on this trail, grasping what many miss, that chocolate serves up the original & ultimate 'soul food'. Hashem bless her.