There’s something really magical about savoring a small piece of really good dark chocolate. It feels like a vacation in your mouth. I love a small square with strong coffee or a good cup of tea, especially when my energy is flagging in the afternoon or when my mood dips at the end of a long day. But to be honest, I love a good piece of dark chocolate pretty much any time, anywhere, and under any circumstances.
It’s not just the taste that’s awesome -- it’s the fact that really good dark chocolate actually has medicinal properties and benefits. In fact, feel free to print out these 100% science-proven health benefits of dark chocolate to remind yourself to eat more of it:
- contains flavonoids, which are awesome antioxidants
- decreases LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
- increases blood flow in arteries and the heart
- reduces blood pressure
- protects your skin from sun damage
- improves your mood by increasing serotonin and endorphin levels in the the brain.
If this list doesn’t convince you to swap out your beloved milk chocolate for dark chocolate, try some of the most amazing dark chocolate on the planet. Once you taste these, I bet they’ll start finding their way into your daily routine. (About one ounce a day is the recommended dose, which is the size of a square that fits in your palm.) I stock my pantry (and purse, and desk drawers, and glove compartment) with these on a regular basis, and one of my favorite things to do is take them out when a friend comes over, stand around the kitchen counter, and taste a small piece of each.
(Warning: impromptu chocolate tastings = instant conversation stopper!)
Divine 70% Mint Dark Chocolate
If you’re not usually into mint and chocolate together, make an exception here. The flavor is subtle and not overpowering, and, combined with such incredibly smooth chocolate, it’s the perfect end to a meal -- like a sophisticated, grown-up Junior Mint. ($3.49 for one 3.5 ounce bar.)
Chocolove XOXOX Dark Chocolate With Almond & Sea Salt
A perfect afternoon pick-me-up, these chocolate bars will satisfy your sweet tooth without overstepping your daily sugar allotment. ($4.99 for a 3.2 ounce bar.)
Jcoco Dark Chocolate Bar, Black Fig Pistachio
At $6.99, this is squarely in the premium chocolate camp, but it’s worth every single penny. Especially if you’re a fig-freak like me. Seriously. There are actually 3 small bars in the package, each with a fun, unique photo wrapper. The flavor is sublime: not too strong, not too subtle, with chunks of figs and pistachios to keep you awake in case you lapse into an instant-chocolate-bliss-coma. I recently shared a bar of this chocolate with my team at work and every single person said it was some of the best chocolate they’ve ever tried. (And working with me, they try a lot.)
Vosges Mo’s Dark Chocolate Bacon Bar
Bacon and chocolate? Why did it take so long to perfect this perfect combination? Vosges is known for mixing together unexpected flavors and this one is so good you might want to try making your own chocolate-covered-bacon someday. ($7.50 for a 3 ounce bar.)
Jaque Torres Dark Chocolates Box
When you want to treat yourself, or someone you love, to something truly amazing, buy one of these delectable boxes of dark chocolates. Each one is unique, which makes tasting them a really special adventure. ($19.20 for a 12-piece box.)
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