Chocofix:Now that we've plumped out at the annual Valentine's Day chocolate orgy, it's time to figure out whether you should feel guilty or just healthy. Maybe a little of both, according to an article at the InteliHealth Internet site, which tells why we might like it so much as well as why it actually might be good for us.

For Americans, chocolate comes in three varieties -- baking chocolate, eating chocolate and drinking chocolate. The rich dark baking chocolate is the least processed, being the fermented, ground and rolled cacao nuts with nothing added except, sometimes, preservatives. In their modern forms, both eating and drinking chocolate are heavily processed to make them acceptable to "civilized" palates. The Maya and Aztec civilizations had "Royal" drinks, but Columbus refused to taste what was offered, and Ferdinand and Isabella, who did taste the cacao Columbus brought back, didn't like it. (It was a concoction of cacao, cornmeal, cinnamon, and anise.) The Aztecs themselves only drank the stuff because of its supposed aphrodisiac powers and named it Xocolatl which translates to "bitter water". No sugar was added and it was about 50 percent fat so it was hard to digest. For lots more chocolate history and the meanings of the "dutching" and "conching" processes, go to

One more measure of chocolate's extreme popularity is that there are more than 660 thousand chocolate-associated Internet sites. Many have recipes, and the biggest number of chocolate recipes is at the Searchable Online Archive of Recipes at UC Berkeley:http://soar.Berkeley.EDU/recipes/. Just search for chocolate. A more manageable list of chocolate recipes is at the PastryWiz chocolate site:

Finally, if you have any blind, Braille-reading, chocoholic friends, go to and order them a chocolate bar or a chocolate guide-dog with Braille embossed greetings for all occasions.

PS -- 1) The word "orgy" probably originally referred to serious and determined food consumption. The other stuff was ancillary. 2) Contrary to what you might have heard, mole, the modern Mexican sauce, is not the same as the early Maya or Aztec drink. Mole is mostly ground chilies of various types, vinegar, caramelized onions, sugar, various spices, and just a wee bit of cacao to make it darker and richer -- think of catsup with chilies instead of tomatoes.