Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Pleasure of Chocolate


   ***** The winner  is JC Jones! *****
JC, please contact me through my website.

** Signed Book Giveaway Ended Jan 5 **

I'll bet  your eyes rested on that photo of chocolate candies before you started reading. C'mon now, be honest. I know mine were focused on it while I was typing this post. I'll also bet you were confronted with chocolate in some form during the holiday. Did you give in? If so, you're like the average American who eats 11.6 pounds of chocolate (about 27,000 calories) a year. We're paltry chocolate eaters compared to the Swiss, who eat twice that amount every year. Of course they do. Swiss chocolate is so delicious and it's so close at hand for them. 

Why does chocolate have this hold on us? I can think of one reason: it's great to pour over various male body parts and lick off. According to the World Atlas of Chocolate, more chocolate is consumed in the winter than at any other time of year, so add a roaring fire to the above scenario.Yummm...

Where was I? Oh, chocolate's hold on us. It has to do with hedonism - the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good. Chocolate is synonymous with hedonism, as the Aztec ruler Montezuma surely knew. He drank mugs of the chocolate drink xocolatl ("bitter water") before taking on a new sexual conquest. He thought it was an aphrodisiac, hence chocolate + Valentine's Day. This is the same Montezuma as in Montezuma's Revenge, the travelers' disease. I suppose the formula for xocolatl was a trade secret, and travelers got only the bitter water, with no chocolate added.

There are a lot of reasons why chocolate induces pleasure and happiness, other than the aforementioned scenario. The god of Chemistry has been hard at work making chocolate a triple whammy. First, it's naturally caffeinated. Caffeine works on the pleasure receptors in the brain and starts the flow of happy-making chemicals like dopamine. Next (hang on to your seats), chocolate contains a chemical compound in the cannabinoid family, closely related to the active ingredient in marijuana. It produces a relaxing, slightly intoxicated effect. We're not done yet--there's another ingredient in chocolate, phenylethylamine. Notice that "amine" on the end of it, the same as in amphetamine. It's officially a hallucinogen and would produce a high like Ecstasy. That is, if there were enough of it present in chocolate. The amounts of these chemicals are small enough that chocolate isn't a controlled substance. But it does give each of us our own personal little buzz, according to how sensitive we are to the triple whammy. 

Do you have any chocolate stories you'd like to share? (Keep it decent.) Something where you think chocolate influenced you one way or another? Are you a chocaholic? 

Post a comment and I'll draw a random winner for a signed copy of Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2! Giveaway ends January 5th, my birthday. 

21 comments:

The Slowest Bookworm said...

Cool! Great information there on chocolate :). My most favourite food lol. Maybe I'm one of the people who is susceptible to the 'amine' bit as it always gives me a high. I must admit though, maybe I'm on my own here, but even the thought of licking chocolate off another persons body parts grosses me out. I'm a chocoholic, but THAT is chocolate I'll happily let you keep! :-p

Sharon S. said...

not only am I a chocoholic, but I am chocolate snob! I know, right. Some chocolate I just won't eat cause it is cheap. If I am going to take in those calories then it better be worth it . My favorites are Ghirardelli 86%, Lindt 85%, and Cadbury candy coated chocolates. Now I do have a weakness for Peanut M&Ms. You won't believe the amount of chocolate I got for Christmas. More than the average person eats in a year . Matter of fact, I have a handful of chocolate every morning after breakfast and more before I go to bed (I like to eat it in the shower)

SandyG265 said...

I love dark chocolate but over the holiday I found a local chocolatier who makes great white chocolate key lime truffles.

Sullivan McPig said...

I'm a big chocaholic I must confess.

My favourite is Belgian Seafruit chocolate: this is chocolate in the shape of shells and such and has a soft creamy filling.

Strangely enough I (almost) only ever buy it around Christmas as when I was a kid my father used to get a big box of this particular chocolate as a Christmas present from a business relation and to me this chocolate therefor is a Christmas chocolate.

Cath's Chatter said...

Chocolate...mhmmmm...
I'll eat it anytime anywhere and the cocoa mass ppft, couldn't care less. As long as its chocolaty and sweet, preferably but not necessarily cold.
Tolberone, Terry's Chocolate Orange, Galaxy, Nestle, Rolo, Curly Wurly, marzipan smothered in chocolate, chocolate nuts/raisins/macadamias/almonds/ANYTHING, Tim Tam biscuits, Toffee Pops, Mallow Puffs, Wagon Wheels, OMG I could go on and on and on...........
I LOVE CHOCOLATE!!!!!
Happy Birthday for the 5th, I hope you have something chocolaty:) ♥
cbcowley@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I love chocolate and my favourite is the British Cadbury's....in all its many forms....lol!!!!

And I did give in this Christmas but now I have to pull the reins hard and get rid of those pounds I've put on this past month....oh my.

Valerie
in Germany

Casey H said...

I absolutely love chocolate! And yes, chocolate has played a big role in a few scenes of my life...but if we're keeping this PG then I can't speak of those moments ;D

mariska said...

Are you a chocaholic?

I love chocolate !!
from Double chocolate brownies, Devil's cake, and chocolate milk..Yumm !!

uniquas at ymail dot com

JenM said...

As if we need another excuse to eat it, a few years ago, I read that chocolate acts as a natural cough suppressant so the next time I had a cold, I gave it a try. I bought a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and starting munching on them - just a couple of chips at a time - when I started coughing. I don't know if it was the placebo effect or what, but I swear, it really did help with my cough and it sure tasted a lot better than those awful cough drops that don't work anyway. Now we always keep a bag of chips on hand just in case and we use it whenever we get sick.
jen at delux dot com

Silvia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica said...

I'm actually not that big of a chocolate person. Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate, I just don't think of myself as a chocoholic! I like white chocolate and milk chocolate and some darks.

My absolute fave is Reese's peanut butter cups!! Those are the BEST! Especially the holiday shapes because they are full of peanut butter!!

So I don't really have any influential chocolate stories.

❋ Ⓚ Ⓐ Ⓡ Ⓔ Ⓝ ❋ said...

Hi, my name is Karen and I am a chocoholic!

thatonegirlyouknew said...

Chocoholic? Most definitely. Lindt truffles and Godiva Ice Cream Drinks. Decadence in its truest form. Chocolate covered strawberries, does it get any better?

enchantedweakness@hotmail.com

Thanks for the giveaway and Happy Birthday on the 5th. ^_^

Llehn said...

Happy birthday, Dakota! Chocolates are my best friend!

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Cylver said...

I'm definitely a chocoholic and have been for years, but please don't arrange for an intervention; it won't work, I promise. Better save your money and buy lots of, um, what's that stuff again? Oh yeah, CHOCOLATE!

Candace said...

Dark chocolate all the way. It's pretty tasty with coffee or a nice glass of wine.

One of my favorite combinations is chocolate and mint. Not like a peppermint patty, but more like peppermint bark. Every holiday season I make tons of peppermint bark and distribute it to my friends. It's cost efficient and my friends enjoy the homemade gift much more than if I had purchased a load of peppermint bark instead.

Crystal ♥ said...

I'm one of those weird people that don't really like chocolate but every now and then I'll eat a Reese's Cup (best frozen) and I love their Halloween commercials with the vampire bite.
That's influenced me to pick some up next time I'm at the store. LoL

Thanks for the giveaway and Happy Birthday!
folksohana(at)gmail(dot)com

JC Jones said...

I love chocolate in any size shape or form. Dark chocolate is great but chocolate chip cookies are among my favorite.

Lea U. said...

I´m a total chocoholic!I just couldn´t live without it ;-) My favourite: dark chocolate. It´s the best!
And thanks for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmmmmmm. Chocolate........
Milk chocolate is the best in my book. I know everyone is on the dark chocolate kick now, but not sweet or creamy enough for me. Hershey's and Lindt are my faves. Funny though, I'm not a big fan of chocolate frosting.
Happy birthday to you! Hope you get lots of the good stuff.
Michele
email is reillym(at)uhls(dot)lib(dot)ny(dot)us

Danielle Gorman said...

To be honest I really don't like chocolate. I just never grew to like it all that much. Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate covered caramels but that is about it.

iqb99@yahoo.com