Pairing Dark Chocolate Perfectly

Smooth, decadent chocolate is a classic Valentine’s Day indulgence. Just in time for this holiday of love is the dietitian pick of the month: Zöet Premium Belgian Dark Chocolates, the perfect way to your Valentine’s heart. But did you know dark varieties of chocolate are actually good for his or her heart, too?

Zöet Premium Belgian
Dark Chocolate

The Darker the Chocolate, the Healthier for Your Heart

Chocolate comes from the beans of pods that grow on the cacao tree. These beans offer flavonoids, antioxidants that promote healthy blood pressure through relaxing the blood vessels and promoting circulatory system health.

If you’re new to darkchocolate, start with a lower percentage of cocoa, such as Zöet 57% dark chocolate, and gradually work your way up to higher percentages.

Less is More
Moderation is key; if alittle is good, more isn’t better! Studies indicate 1 ounce of dark chocolate - 1/3 of a Zöet Bar - a two to three times per week is the right amount to enjoy.

Great Alone but Better Together: Food Pairings with Dark Chocolate

  • Extra dark (70% cacao): Aged Parmesan cheese 
  • Pear & almond dark chocolate: Havarti cheese
  • Dark chocolate almond: Cherries
  • Dark (57% cacao) –strawberries, almonds, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Dark Chocolate Bark Your Way
Be creative and sprinkle in anything you’d like over this simple dark chocolate bark. 

Makes approx. 16 1-½ inch pieces

All you need:
2 (3.5 oz) bars Zöet Premium Belgian 57% Dark Chocolate
½ cup toppings (total amount) of your choice, such as: Toasted nuts, coarsely chopped
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Cacao nibs
Dried cranberries or raisins

All you do:
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. (Take care to avoid wrinkles in the foil.) 

2. Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave on MEDIUM for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on MEDIUM, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. 

3. With a rubber scraper, scrape melted chocolate onto the foil and spread it into a 9-inch square. 

4. Sprinkle lightly with desired topping(s) and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. 

5. Transfer the bark and foil to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1 ½ inch pieces.

Jen Haugen represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community.  Jen is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.