As I put together the arrangement for our 2021 Mother’s Day Gift Box, lining up our classic pure chocolate with twists of decadence and relaxation, I couldn’t help but lose myself in a simple question: why do Mother’s Day and dark chocolate come so hand-in-hand?
I let 67% dark chocolate dissolve on my tongue into smooth notes that recalled my childhood: the dark cocoa notes from fresh-baked brownies on my birthday, boxes of raisins packed in my lunchbox, the taste of a plum for the first time, Mom’s occasional cappuccino treat. Why, I wondered, is dark chocolate the go-to gift (and an excellent choice) when treating the women who made you who you are? I have a few ideas.
Of course chocolate is delicious. It’s clear that we want to show people how much we love them by giving them something to enjoy, to savor, to wrap themselves in until all their other worries seem small.
But I think the taste of dark chocolate can do a little more: it can encourage mindfulness. With its vast and diverse flavor profiles, dark chocolate (especially craft chocolate from heirloom cacao) invites one to truly taste something. This is an immersive experience that helps one to truly locate herself in her body and root her experience of the world in a manageable pool of beautiful sensory input.
These therapies ask you to truly experience what you are experiencing — “stop and smell the flowers,” so to speak — and this mindfulness helps us to increase our appreciation of the moment we’re living in.
Dark chocolate is a very obvious and potent mood-booster, especially for moms whose feelings are subject to influence by whatever chaos decides to inhabit her children that day. While children might not always be sweet or soothing, chocolate provides a constant. Dark chocolate is a guaranteed source of endorphins in a world where endorphins are not always easy to come by, and even has been proven to offer positive effects on mental health in the short term.
Containing precursors to the happy chemical serotonin, dark chocolate provides the building blocks necessary to manufacture actual happiness in the brain. What better building blocks can we offer to the women who built our lives?
Well, maybe there are some other great building blocks (or are they more like strengthening tools?) that dark chocolate can offer Mom: antioxidants like polyphenols and flavanols that train cells in her heart, brain, and body to have an even greater fighting chance in all her endeavors.
It can’t just be me who feels that experiencing Mother’s Day as someone’s imperfect human child always has a lingering itch of guilt. After all: what gift can I offer to someone who gave me everything she could as I grew? What can I possibly give the woman who has seen me at my worst and my snottiest and my most heartbroken and still loved me?
I guess some rich, beautifully complex, calming, heart-healthy chocolate will have to do, won’t it? (Along with an expression of gratitude, of course!)
Above all this, chocolate has one more lovely thing to offer that I’d like to mention. There is a powerful chemical contained in cocoa called phenylethylamine, with an important function in the brain: it helps us experience love.
That’s why I’m opting for a dark chocolate gift box for my mom for Mother’s Day this year, at least. Check ours out here.
-Ariel Everitt, Team Mindo