Vegan MoFo Day 13 – I Love You Vegan Chocolate…

I was never a big chocolate fan…

(Please don’t throw things at me. I’m sorry.)

Let’s start over.

I was a late-bloomer in the chocolate department.

(That’s better. Now you won’t reject me or find me alien. Whew.)

As a child, I was far more interested in light, sugary tastes or even caramel, but chocolate just didn’t do it for me. I never picked the Hostess Cup Cakes. I was a Twinkie girl. My favorite birthday cake flavor was lemon with lemon frosting. I’d pick jelly beans over a chocolate bunny and day of the week.

I’m not saying I disliked chocolate, but I just didn’t get what all the fuss was all about. Especially with women who were, geeze, like my mum’s age (from the Cretaceous period or something, or so it seemed to the Littlefish I was). They just went on and on about chocolate as if it were some kind of cute guy they couldn’t get enough of. Or a drug.

I can’t tell you when exactly it was that I came to the Dark Side…and I mean that sincerely, because while milk chocolate used to be fun from time to time, it was only after really getting to know dark chocolate or chocolat noir that I began to understand that there was something special about the stuff.

The beauty of the dark chocolate is that it is nearly always vegan! Hurrah for vegan food! Vegan chocolate! Vegan goodness! Do read your labels and all, kids, but here in France, where the peeps are more dark aficionados, one discusses the quality of his or her chocolat noir as they would their wine – it’s très serious. All this quality and care of the dark chocolate is really just wonderful for those who wish to avoid ingesting mammalian secretions, because as any artisan de chocolat or chocolate craftsman can tell you, pure dark chocolate would be tainted by any milk products.

I couldn’t agree more…

I want to thank you all most sincerely for the encouragement and kindness in your comments yesterday. I really needed them, and was pouring over them before leaving for work this morning. I did indeed quit, and while it was very unpleasant, I do feel relieved for it to be out in the open and official. It’s rather bitter-sweet, because while I feel so much lighter having freed myself of a horrible psychological burden, I now have to try to find a replacement job ASAP because while it was only a few hours a week, the paycheck made a large difference in our month-to-monthness.

Enter the chocolate.

As is the case of many French towns, we have multiple chocolateries, but I have a little weakness for one in particular. They specialize in chocolates from Belgium (though they make the majority of their wares in their shoppe). I spotted this beauty last week while buying a little chocolate love for some friends, and I just couldn’t resist. Dark chocolate with mint leaves? Brilliant. I love mint-chocolate, but I’d never, ever had chocolate with mint leaves, only extract. And the ingredient list has only 6 items! Just the pure cocoa goodness, sugar, mint leaves, vanilla and emulsifier. Ta da! Needless to say, I broke into my little mint-chocolate stash this afternoon. Helped me take the edge off…

I’m not going to get all preachy about the touted health-food aspects of chocolate. These are still hotly debated benefits in the medical community, and if you closely examine ANY study done on the benefits of chocolate you will find the names of the heavy-hitters in the food industry and their cousins, the agribusiness goons, who all have ties to the major candy manufacturers in the world. Am I saying it’s all bunk? No. But should we really trust them to tell us what’s really good for us? (Cause, you know, they were SO telling the truth about drinking all that cow’s milk…). Just saying we shouldn’t be cracking that fudgy-smudged smug grin too soon.

But hey, good for us or not…who cares? It’s chocolate.