Friday, December 19, 2008

Cozy Fun for Snowy Weather: Best Hot Chocolate

Did you know how beneficial chocolate can be to your health when eaten in moderation? We are talking about real, pure, dark chocolate with high cocoa content, not the milk diluted stuff. Here is some of what it can do for you as part of a balanced nutritious diet:
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Improve circulation
  • Lower death rate from heart disease
  • Improve function of endothelial cells that line the blood vessels
  • Defend against destructive molecules called free radicals, which trigger cancer, heart disease and stroke
  • Improve Digestion and stimulate kidneys
  • Has been used to help treat patients with anemia, kidney stones and poor appetite
In the snowy Boston weather as we snuggle up with families at home, the perfect compliment to the storm is a good cup of hot chocolate. I am talking about real hot chocolate, not hot cocoa. After some trial and error I came up with my perfect recipe for some real European style hot chocolate. I prefer to use Trader Joe's pound plus dark chocolate for this purpose (or substitute with some organic dark chocolate). Just heat up some organic milk (preferably whole) on medium high, never leave milk unattended! Before it boils add chocolate in small chunks until you reach the consistency you want. I usually mix 3 cups of milk with about 1/3 pound of chocolate. Stirring constantly is key. Just two ingredients, nice and simple - the kids can help. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top for the finishing touch!

In the Boston area, I have yet to find a better cup of hot chocolate than L.A. Burdick in Cambridge. If you are within walking distance of the cozy cafe at 52 Brattle Street, bundle up now and grab a friend for some hard core chocoholic fun, just don't overindulge. Keep in mind that you actually need less than you are dreaming of to satisfy your craving. It might not be so bad to have some regular dark chocolate in your children's diet too, as long as they are old enough - I am sure they will not mind your suggestion! Make sure you invest in real chocolate though, and no, it is not OK to eat the whole bar yourself in one day...


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