Menachem's Writings


I'm a Chocolate Nut -- Nuts for Chocolate -- Chocolate Addict

I love chocolate. In any form, solid or cocoa powder. Chocolate comes from the cocao tree, often called the chocolate tree (much better than the money tree). But don't give me Hershey's unless it's at least 85% pure cocao! Same with Elite, Nestle or Cadbury's (when I was a kid in Sydney, Australia, Cadbury's (now Cadbury Schweppes) was the only chocolate we knew -- I used to like the round tablet looking ones) -- but now, keep your kisses, fruit & nuts and your Peanut Brittle, or other brittle products containing cocoa -- 85% pure or nothing!

Is chocolate good for you? Is it healthy? Recent studies say, "Go for it"! Researchers at the University of California at Davis (and elsewhere) say that while Chocolate may be the despair of dieters (what do you expect when you eat chocolate full of milk and sugar and assorted chemicals [lucky I'm a reformed vegan, whole food plant based eater) but it also contains a class of chemicals that might help lower the risk of heart disease. Well that's free bonus without playing bingo. Seems weird someone would eat cholesterol reducing cocoa with cholesterol inducing milk and diabetes causing sugar. But the really cool bit, is that they now say adding red wine varieties to your diet you get a double whammy whammy, no double your double benefit.

I swim about a mile and half a day (2.5 kilometers) and then either ride a bicycle or work out for another hour. Then my mates and I have a cup of (in Israel they call it Turkish, because they don't know the Turks prefer tea) coffee or strawberry tea in the work rooom with a "few" squares of 85% Swiss, Belgium of French dark chocolate -- Mmmm Mmmmmmm. There's Chaim, Steve, Alex, Avreimele and me, Menachem Kuchar.

Today, Chaim and I were happily munching away, eating some raw ginger, donut dunking our chocolate into some Colombian coffee [Chaim was partaking of 70% Belgian Dark], when curses, Sef turned up. Curses -- take cover.

We haven't seen Sef since Alex got him a cheap bottle of expensive Cognac via Shlomo from the Tishbi Winery here in Israel. (They say Tishbi's brandy is as good as the French stuff, but also Kosher!) Alex always warns us about Sef, but he snuck up on us. He only comes on Fridays, and hasn't been spotted since the Passover holidays. Sef's a public servant, works at The Bank -- Capital T, the Reserve bank, The Bank of Israel, interest rates and Budgetary & fiscal control -- so gets his coffee and chocolate at my expense anyway (buy I don't have to watch).

Anyway, he sneaks up on us, but I see him out of the corner of my eye and start to surepticiously move things off the table. But Chaim is a gentleman and offers Sef a piece. But he eyes 2 packages and questions the difference, his eyes bulging out of head. I tell him we each have our own taste preferences. "We're not a Kibbutz", I say referring at the same time to the fact everyone doesn't have to eat and wear the same things as each other, and also that we are not into sharing. But he grabs a chunk of Chaim's 70% chocolate bar and stuffs his face with it, in Sesame Street's Cookie Monster style. Was I in the clear? No, he hadn't even finished chewing, let alone swallowing, when his big hairy hand picks up the remains of my 85% chocolate bar (there were only 2 squares left) breaks off 3/4 saying, "Sorry I'm so eager!" and again like the Cookie Monster, stuffs it behind the previous piece. Sesame Street never made an episode like the one I lived through this morning!

I grabbed what I could -- who knows where he would turn next -- and stuffed it all into my tucker bag and said, "Shabbat Shalom -- good Shabbos" and politely exited stage left and right at once.

But don't tell him -- I have another 10 chocolate blocks in my locker.

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