Okay, I’m officially over the Fall Back time change. Yes, it was great to wake up after an indulgent Halloween feast having logged an extra hour of sleep, but now I just find myself fading earlier. Around 4 o’clock, when I can sense that the sun is about to go down, my eyelids feel heavier, I start to yawn, and no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to crawl into bed with a cup of cocoa and a purring snuggle buddy. But I’m a New Yorker! The workday isn’t even close to over and dinner is at least 3 hours away. I have miles to go before snoozing, and as a bona fide late-nighter, I’m likely to get a second or even third wind before calling the day quits.
Dusk can be dangerous. It seduces us back to bed, tempts our chocolate cravings, and for far too many Americans, offers an excuse to duck out to the corner Starbucks, or worse, Dunkin Doughnuts, for the latest “seasonal,” syrupy sweet, artificially flavored “coffee” to act as an instant pick-me-up. As someone who can only handle an espresso jolt after a large meal, my go-to fix for the late-afternoon snooze blues is a few pieces of the darkest dark chocolate money can buy. Dark chocolate has been shown to ease anxiety and depression, and even mild cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder (if you subscribe to the belief that seasonal change can induce disease – I don’t). It contains serotonin, a chemical that acts on brain receptors to boost our spirits, as well as a wee bit of good old-fashioned caffeine. And for $2.99 at Trader Joe’s, a Valrhona chocolate bar certainly doesn’t drain my bank account like that daily $5.00 latte…nor does it pack the caloric punch! Now I should make myself perfectly clear – when it comes to dark chocolate, I’m not talking 70% cacao. Bitch, puh-lease. When it comes to dark chocolate, I do not screw around. I go for 82% minimum cacao content. Rich and smooth with a bitter edge, really dark chocolate describes every good girl’s weakness for really bad men. This stuff bursts with a million piercing flavors ranging from pungent acid to nutty brown butter, and then the milk solids begin to melt in your mouth creating a cream coating that runs down the back of your throat. Seriously, is there any food more sensual than dark chocolate? It’s no wonder single women everywhere hide bars in desk drawers and bedside tables. I keep my stash in my kitchen…my favorite spot to work and play. Eat it Up!