“Valentine’s Day,” the thought jolted LJ awake. He looked at his watch calendar. “Ok, it’s in one week.Chocolate Therapy here I come.”
After breakfast, he finished dressing and walked into Annie’s office. She was immersed in a writing project but looked at him with a smile. “Hey babes, what’s up?”
“I’ve got to run a few errands in the village. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
LJ walked briskly letting the sounds of nature entertain him. A flight of noisy geese flew underneath scuttering clouds, and he sidestepped a flock of wild turkeys on their way to the neighborhood’s cascading waterfall. Two miles later he arrived at his destination. The bell over the door sounded as he stepped into the sweet smell of cacao perfumed air. The soft sounds of Lowell Hopper’s On the Run played in the background. The proprietors, Billy and his wife Paula, were busy with customers and greeted him with a wave. “Hi LJ, we’ve been expecting you. Come and join us; we’re giving an impromptu chocolate lesson.”
“Thanks, as you know, I’m on a serious mission and need expert advice, so only the finest chocolates with the highest nutritional value are selected for my food-as-medicine wife,” he laughed as he walked over to the small group.
Billy smiled, “Yes, as I was saying, this Pom Balm with its dark chocolate shell infused with pomegranate molasses is one of our biggest sellers. Pomegranate is known for its medicinal properties that include an impressive amount of vitamins C and K.”
Paula picked up a beautifully decorated Blueberry Lemon Basil piece. It was covered in tiny pink flowers with blue centers and bright green leaves. “This is one of my favorites, and I know Annie likes them because chocolate is blended with the ingredients and encased in dark chocolate. Blueberries support heart health as does lemons, and basil has mood-boosting properties.”
LJ pointed at The Cure, “this looks tempting.”
Paula agreed, “It is, and because it’s layered with Ceylon cinnamon, bay leaf, and cayenne topped with Aleppo pepper, it comes by its name for good reason. This cinnamon has a delicate flavor, but all cinnamons are a good source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, contributing to eye health. Bay leaves are known to help inhibit the growth of bacteria, and the Capsaicin in cayenne has medicinal qualities and what brings a little heat to this dark gem.”
“How about a couple of pieces of Stress Reliever,” said Billy. “With your busy schedules, I’m sure Annie, and you could benefit from its deliciousness. Its dark chocolate shell is layered with the essence of lavender, sage and blended with local honey. Lavender is well known for its calming effect, and sage is a good source of vitamin K that supports bones, blood, and heart health.”
“LJ, you’re going to want to include Hazelnut Noir. It is dairy-free and infused with hazelnut butter. Hazelnuts have high levels of an antioxidant that research shows may help prevent cancer growth,” said Billy.
“Good to know. Annie and I are grateful for your ability to showcase the therapeutic benefits of dark chocolate as a superfood.”
Paula nodded, “Yes cacao, or chocolate in its original form, contains antioxidants known as flavanols, which help increase the body’s production of nitric acid, a blood vessel relaxer. This leads to increased circulation, especially after workouts reducing muscle soreness and powering faster recovery.”
Billy added, “Our handmade chocolates, using the freshest seasonal ingredients are designed to appeal to your taste buds through the inclusion of multiple healthy flavors. We feature dark chocolate because the higher the cacao content, the higher the mineral content. We aim to delight the senses and support good health.”
“While I’m at it, I would like to pick up Almond Bark,” said LJ. “That sugar-free rich dark Belgian chocolate encasing toasted salted almonds is my favorite.”
Billy and Paula laughed, “We anticipated your order, and here it is ready for you, LJ.”
“Once again, friends you have guaranteed Annie and me a sweet, healthy, healing V day. Thanks!”
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple introduced on the Healthy Healing Eats blog in January 2020. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.