appreciation class is a sweet assignment |
Arlene Colcombe |
To a true chocoholic, very
few things are better than chocolate. Such were the attendees at the
Collier County Library's presentation called, "How to Taste
||Chocolatier Laurie Rose displays chunks
Presenter Laurie Rose of Olde Naples Chocolate
handed out chocolate "quizzes" to give everyone a chance to see how
much they really knew, while "I hope there are samples," was heard
in loud whispers around the room. Questions ranged from the best way
to store chocolate to its history and ingredients.
surprisingly, the group was mostly women, interspersed with a few
adventurous men and dutiful husbands.
Chocolate is best
stored in a cool, dry place at about 67 degrees. The refrigerator is
acceptable, but may dry chocolate out. Fortunately, those white
spots that sometimes appear on the chocolate surface are not
harmful; they are just cocoa butter crystals that have risen to the
surface. Dark chocolate will last longer than milk
It was welcome
nutritional news to learn that chocolate is suddenly considered
healthy in some ways. It is true that consuming one to two ounces of
chocolate daily can benefit your health.
The darker the
chocolate, the better. Chocolate contains zinc, magnesium,
potassium, riboflavin and calcium, and may reduce the risk of heart
disease. Stearic acid in the cocoa butter may lower cholesterol.
Nitric oxide is associated with healthy blood flow. Some also
believe that it raises serotonin levels in the brain, a natural
"feel-good" anti-depressant. A chemical called phenylethyamine
produces a little lift and a sense of well-being or slight euphoria,
like falling in love. Unfortunately, some of these same chemicals
can be toxic to dogs.
Later, samples of a few varieties of
chocolate were handed out as a grateful audience savored them. These
ranged from the most common milk chocolate, at 35 percent cocoa, to
the preferred dark chocolate at 62 percent, to the 65 to 70 percent
extra dark, a taste that must be acquired.
Fine wine should
never be gulped, and good chocolate should never be just chewed up
and swallowed. Rather, it should be savored slowly and allowed to
melt in your mouth. Chocolate melts at 98 degrees, the temperature
of your body.
Rose had always wanted to have her own shop and
now she does, as the owner of Olde Naples Chocolate, since 2003. Her
chocolate expertise is largely self-taught through trial and error,
but also through classes hosted by chocolate
Rose also noted that although women are the
number one consumers of chocolate, most of her customers in the
store are men. It is an indication, she feels, that most men want
their women to be happy more than they want them to be svelte. As
with most good things in life, she cautions, "All in
The presentation was one offering of the Collier
County Public Library's summer programs. Others include classic,
foreign and documentary films, computer classes, dance, hurricane
preparedness, a series of family fun programs and many more.
Information is available at all library branches. For more
information call 263-0177, or visit
Olde Naples Chocolate is
located at 1305 Third St. South, in downtown Naples. For information
or special orders call Laurie Rose at 239 262-3975.