Chocolate — the universal love language

Chocolate heart on wooden background

Here we are in February already. We steam rolled into 2022, leaving behind the vicissitudes and tribulations of 2021 — a year for the books that should be erased altogether.

It’s beginning to look like another Omicron lockdown might compromise V-Day, where a red rose and scrambled eggs with some bagel chips might  be the ticket. But, you can make it festive by adding a chilled bottle of Veuve. Some smoked salmon or caviar is always popular, and it yells fancy.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, we are bombarded with ads: jewelry, perfume, flowers and of course, the ultimate in seductive and decadent — the heart-shaped box of chocolates.

No doubt, chocolate is brilliant any time of the year. It cures everything, even a bad day. I always tread lightly when I hear someone say they don’t like chocolate. Wait, what?

When did chocolate become the ultimate aphrodisiac? The hazy answer is that there’s been an enduring symbiotic relationship between chocolate and amour lasting through the ages. Cacao (the base ingredient for chocolate) has been used to flavor drinks and food since 2000 B.C. Even the Mayans and Aztecs traded with it and, historically, cultures around the globe have used it as an erotic stimulant. Chocolate always creates a party in your mouth with that melty, sweet velvety feel that can’t be replicated or duplicated with anything. It throws people into a stupor, along with almost sexy palpitations and, before you know it, you’ve consumed the whole box.

Valentine’s Day is one of those dates you either embrace or you detest. Everything is twice as expensive; service is slower and unexceptional. Try securing reservations somewhere of distinction — it’s easier getting a phone call into the Vatican if you want to speak to the Pope.

Try making oysters, steak au poivre or elevated comfort food like tomato soup with a swanky grilled tomato and brie cheese sammy. Even a bowl of lip-smackin’ chili can be made sumptuous when presented with enough pomp and ceremony. A great dish doesn’t have to break the bank — it’s all in the presentation and sumptuous taste to send you into a gastronomical coma. Enjoy celebrating it with your sweetie.

If you have time, why not bake a sumptuous, chocolate lava cake? It’s beyond extravagant, rather easy to make and will undoubtedly make you the rock star of the day.

Ditch the red roses for a heart-shaped box from some extravagant chocolatier, full of colorful chocolates, lovingly placed inside. Or try something like Godiva truffles: no need to reinvent the wheel and they never disappoint. Chocolate-covered strawberries also will win you major kudos. 

Chocolate — the universal love language

Oozie Chocolate Lava Cake

  • 1 stick of butter – room temp
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1 2/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 whole eggs – room temp
  • 2 egg yolks – room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup of APF (all-purpose flour)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray four custard ramekins thoroughly with baking spray and place them on a baking sheet.

In a microwavable safe bowl, melt the butter, bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolates for about 1 minute, until butter has melted. Whisk in the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs and the yolks to incorporate. Add the flour in tablespoon increments to ensure everything has blended well without overmixing.

Distribute the mixture into the ramekins, leaving a finger above the mixture and the rim. Bake for about 13 minutes till the sides are set and the middle is still soft. Let it stand for about 1 minute and invert onto dessert plates accompanied by whipped cream or vanilla or pistachio ice cream. Add sliced strawberries, some chopped nuts for presentation and some mint leaves. Happy Valentine’s Day!