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Theo Chocolate

Posted Sep 19 2010 7:20pm
It has been some time since I wrote a blog post.  I have been busy visiting with friends and family in Canada.  My parents still have dial-up internet, so writing a blog post could have taken a week!  I returned to Seattle a couple of weeks ago and am now enjoying time with my in laws.  It is not hard finding things to do in Seattle.  I live beside Theo chocolate factory, which is my now my favorite place to bring our visitors.  Theo's is by far the best chocolate  I have ever tasted.   They are also the first and only organic fair trade chocolate factory in the US, which makes them super cool.  Do you know what organic or fair trade means?  If a food is labeled "organic" it means that crops must be grown without using synthetic pesticides, bioenginered genes, petroleum-based fertilizers and sewage sludge based fertilizers.  Organic livestock must have access to the outdoors and be given no antibiotics or growth hormones.  The principles of fair trade are that it creates opportunities for marginalized producers, builds capacity, pays promptly and fairly, supports empowering working conditions, ensures children’s rights, cultivates environmental stewardship, and respects cultural identity.  Sounds like a company I want to support.  Theo also does all of their processing on site so they can guarantee fresh delicious chocolate.  They buy their cocoa beans from the farmers and process them on site, here in Fremont, Seattle.  They are one of only 14 other chocolate factories in the US that processes their own beans.  They only add local fresh ingredients to their chocolate including sage and lavender, which I was able to sample.  

Are you wondering how they came up with the name Theo?  Well, Theo is short for theobromine which is an alkaloid substance found in chocolate.  Alkaloids are naturally occurring organic bases, mostly found in plants, which have pharmacologic actions in humans.  Theobromine, caffeine, morphine, and nicotine all share something in common, they are all alkaloids. Theobromine is a diuretic, mild stimulant, and relaxes the smooth muscles of the bronchi in the lungs.  Theobromine can dilate he blood vessels, therefore lowering blood pressure.  Is this why we feel so good after eating chocolate? For those of you who now think that you can justify eating a pound of chocolate a day to reduce blood pressure, it won't do you any good if your weight increases proportional to your chocolate intake, now will it?.  Everything in moderation will do a body good.  Different types of chocolates have varying amounts of theobromine.   Dark chocolate has a much higher concentration than milk chocolate, for the simple reason that milk is added and you are getting a dilution effect.  You have probably heard that dogs should not eat chocolate. Well, you are correct.  Dogs and other domestic animals such as horses metabolize theobromine much slower than humans and it can be lethal depending on how much your furry pet consumes.

Cocoa trees are Native to South and Central America, close to the equator, and are now being grown in Malaysia, Brazil, Ecuador, and West Africa.  Raw cocoa is high in antioxidants, but the processing and the different additives used to make chocolate, can lower the amount of antioxidants.  It has been suggested that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants.  In order to maximize your antioxidant intake choose bars with a higher chocolate percentage.  I usually choose a chocolate bar  between 70 - 80% cocoa.  Make sure when you choose to consume chocolate, you do it wisely.  Chocolate is tasty, but when consumed in excess can really increase your pant size.  If you want to find out more info on Theo Chocolate click on the following link.  Theo Chocolate website

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