National Milk Chocolate Day! Yes it’s a thing!
by Christina Meyer-Jax, Tastemaker in Residence
July 28th has it going on! Its summer plus a day to celebrate milk chocolate! Since I’ve always considered any variety of cocoa bean concoction a food group, I’m ready to bust out the party hats and noisemakers!
But why just celebrate “milk chocolate”? As a dietitian and nutritionist I often get ask if there really is a difference in milk vs. dark chocolate? It comes down to your top priorities?
If you are looking to maximize the health benefits the choice is finding a higher percent cocoa. Why? Cocoa beans contain natural compounds called flavonoids which have been found to reduce cell damage, improve vascular function, and decrease inflammation. With a higher percentage going to cocoa this also means there will be less overall sugar and fat content. So who is the winner here? While milk chocolate will contain some cocoa solids, it is dark chocolate that’s the leader in this category. Good to look for dark chocolate that is at least 65% cocoa, but be mindful that while it can have some nutrition benefits, chocolate is still a higher in calories, fat, and sugar food. All good things in moderation (or insert some other unsexy word like “balance”), right?
Baking and Taste
Palates and preferences will always be individual, but milk chocolate with its higher percentage of milk solids and sugar will have a creamier and sweeter texture and taste. This is typically a winner for when chocolate is eaten alone, but is also great when smooth consistency is needed in recipes. As the percentage of cocoa increases so does the bitterness. Dark chocolate also does not melt quite as well due to lower fat content.
No matter your preference I think we can agree that chocolate is worth celebrating! Heck in my house it’s typically a daily holiday. So with summer and National Milk Chocolate Day in alignment I thought I share a cool “healthified” milk chocolate treat!
Cocoa Monkey Fro-Zo see Recipe here