(BPT) - The percentage of Americans savoring dessert after dinner has increased 5 percent since 2009, and 78 percent of treats enjoyed after dinner include chocolates, according to a study by The Hartman Group on U.S. eating habits. If you are looking for a treat to complement your next meal, consider dark chocolate. A little goes a long way, making it the perfect choice to fit a balanced lifestyle.
Here are a few ways you can savor dark chocolate:
* Workday treat: Take a break from emails and meetings to enjoy a tasty treat and check in on social media. A bite of dark chocolate and a chai latte are a surefire pick-me-up for a busy workday.
* Relaxing ritual: Enjoy a quiet night alone soaking in a warm bath with a good book, or unwind on the couch by catching up with the DVR after a long week. “Me time” calls for comfort food like tomato soup with grilled cheese. Savor a HERSHEY’S BLISS Dark Chocolate to cap off the experience.
* Family dinner and game night: Kimberly Williams-Paisley, star of the TV show Nashville and mother of two, suggests sharing dark chocolate at your next family gathering.
“Pass around a few pieces of dark chocolate for dessert after a home-style dish like chicken and vegetable soup or turkey chili,” says Williams-Paisley. “You can also sweeten family game night by using HERSHEY’S KISSES SPECIAL DARK Chocolates as pieces for board games.”
* Wine tasting party: Host a wine tasting party and entertain friends in a casual setting. Select a few different varieties of wine and accompany with various cheeses, fruits and dark chocolates to bring out different notes in each one. Try pairing figs, manchego cheese and crostinis with a cabernet then finish the tasting with a few pieces of SCHARFFEN BERGER Semisweet Dark Chocolate.
* Girls’ brunch in: Catch up with your girlfriends over brunch for a chance to chat about everything from a good book to the funny things your children said. Invite over your closest friends and serve savory mini frittatas with roasted vegetables and blood orange bellinis. A nugget of dark chocolate with almonds is a delicious way to end the meal.
Dark chocolate is incredibly versatile – there is something delicious for everyone. If you are new to experimenting with dark chocolate, you can do a tasting to select one that fits your taste preference or mood. The cacao percentage can help serve as a guide. A higher percentage cacao typically leads to a more robust chocolate flavor.
For more information on dark chocolate and pairing tips, visit www.TheModerationNation.com.