How to eat chocolate

We’ve forgotten how to eat, period, let alone how to eat chocolate. That’s a bold statement, I know. But when was the last time you ate without simultaneously doing something else? And when it comes to chocolate, I’m sure many of us have eaten rows – or even perhaps whole blocks – of chocolate without realising it, because we were distracted with watching TV, reading a book or scrolling our Facebook feed. Now is that the way treat the precious ambrosia that is chocolate? I say no.

To actually enjoy – and mindfully eat – chocolate (so you don’t overeat it), why not try this little experiment to see whether it heightens your chocolate-savouring experience?

First, start with good quality chocolate. See if you can opt for the 70 per cent variety. I know it can take time to acquire the taste of rich, bittersweet cocoa. Around 10 years ago, when I tried 70 per cent chocolate for the very first time, I actually spat it out. But it didn’t take me long to develop the taste, and I now quite enjoy the 85 per cent strength!

I suggest trying a few brands, as the taste of one 70 per cent chocolate can differ from another. If you still feel it’s too strong, you can work your way up, as there are also 47, 55, 60+ per cent strengths. And, as you know, the darker the chocolate, the better it is for you, since the ratio of sugar drops as the amount of cocoa increases. So, eventually, you’ll (hopefully) be craving for a cocoa hit rather than a sugar hit.

Okay, now that we have the quality sorted, let’s talk quantity, as that’s the main part of ‘how to eat’ chocolate.

When you next get the urge to savour some chocolate, give yourself some time and space. Sit on the couch or your favourite spot with a couple of pieces of your quality treat. Leave the TV off, and don’t have any of your devices or reading material within reach either.

Now, I like to look at my chocolate first – it only takes a second – to admire its colour and smooth surface. Remember, you eat with your eyes first. Then I take a moment to smell it. This stimulates my olfactory senses, altering my brain to the pleasure that I’m about to receive and enjoy.

With my brain ready and waiting, I take a bite, but I don’t immediately chew. I gently swirl and suck the piece, allowing it to melt on my tongue, delivering its taste sensations. I try to notice the different flavour notes as I continue to eat the rest of my two pieces this way.

Sometimes my mind wonders off, and I forget about savouring my precious two squares of chocolate, but I try to come back to the moment, hopefully before I pop in the last bit.

As soon I finish eating, I stay seated for a few more moments, acknowledging the aftereffects and lingering taste of the gift I just got to savour.

Happy Easter.

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Why chocolate is good for you

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