Paula had a better idea and suggested that after I drop the kid off in Preston I continue on up to Canterbury for steaks on the grill and a bottle of Sam Adams Oktoberfest. That sounded like a darned fine idea to me as a grilled steak with fresh vegetables (yes, Amanda, I said fresh!) sounded wonderful, a Sam Adams would take the edge off of a long week, and Paula is infinitely better company than the cat! It was an easy choice to decide to make the trek to the wilds of Canterbury and that's exactly what I did.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by Paula and an ice-cold Sam which went down surprisingly easy considering I drink beer or ale generally only once in a blue moon. As a matter of fact, the last Oktoberfest ale I had was again in Paula's company over at Mustang Mary's on Laurel Hill across from my house (which sadly appears to have either closed up shop or is under-going the world's most extensive renovations as the sign out front has been proclaiming that for almost the entire year!).
During the course of a wonderful dinner (thanks again, Paula!), her mother shared an article that she had recently read in Prevention Magazine about the benefits of dark chocolate entitled "Why You Need Chocolate". No doubt this article was geared to women everywhere and there isn't a single one of us that wouldn't rejoice at its findings!
Several studies have confirmed that the antioxidants in dark chocolate help lower levels of "bad" cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and help prevent type 2 diabetes. There is also research indicating that the flavonols in chocolate may have cancer-fighting qualities though more research outside of a test tube needs to be done.
According to the article, the trick is to eat the "right" chocolate - the chocolate with the highest amount of flavonols (antioxidants) as that is what's going to give you the most health benefits.
"Flavonol content can vary widely among chocolate products. According to Harold Schmitz, PhD, director of science at Mars Inc., a chocolate manufacturer, how the cocoa beans are grown, picked, fermented, transported, and processed can all reduce flavonol levels. Mars is trying to remedy this with CocoaVia, a line of chocolate products made with Cocoapro, its own specially processed cocoa that is engineered to be high in flavonols. "It's the first cocoa product designed to taste great and overtly make a contribution to heart health," Schmitz says. Cocoapro is used in Mars' Dove Dark chocolate, and independent studies have shown that 1-1/3 ounces a day of Dove Dark delivers cardiovascular benefits. Just remember: That amount also packs 200 calories."The on-line article also offers a link to a page on the best dark chocolates which breaks the top nine brands down by nutritional value, cost, and where to buy them. I'll bet it was hard to be in on that study! Why do I make my living dispatching ambulances when there are great jobs like that out there??? How many people are lucky enough to say "I have to go to work to eat chocolate today." ... oh sigh ...
All in all I would have to say it was a Friday evening well-spent; I had a wonderful time at Paula's casa where I not only got to eat a great meal that someone else cooked but I learned that it's not only okay to eat chocolate - it's good for me! I couldn't have asked for a better evening! Now, if you'll excuse me I need to go become godlike ...