Celebrating Chocolate... And Labor Day

We all love a long weekend, even more so when the long weekend signifies the end of a sweltering summer. Labor Day, according to Wikipedia is “a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country.” It was first celebrated nationally in 1894, and it was a large step for unions and social justice across the nation.

Not only is it an impactful day in history, it also carries with it some rules. Ever heard the phrase “don’t wear white after labor day?” That phrase isn’t simply to avoid getting chocolate on your pants during the long winter. It began in the turn of the 20th century, when it was difficult to tell the difference between “old” money and “new” money (see The Great Gatsby). There were all sorts of rules and regulations high society men and women made to tell the difference, including no longer wearing white after the warm summer days.

We don’t agree with social stratification, but like we mentioned earlier, white stains so easily—especially when your favorite dessert is chocolate. So what kind of dessert should you have in your white pants to celebrate the Labor Day weekend? We have compiled a list of delicious chocolate combinations from our favorite food blogs to try—or, if you aren’t the do-it-yourselfer, you can always pop over to our main website page and order some decadent, hand made chocolate from Ziva.

These S’more Brownies would be perfect for a weekend campfire near the house from the Food Network:

 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/smore-brownies-recipe-1928483

 

This Chocolate Cream Pie recipe from MidWest Living would be perfect for cooling off after some fun in the sun:

http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/chocolate-cream-pie/

How about these Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cookies from AllRecipes—a staff pick!—for the perfect ending to a perfect barbeque.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/9843/chocolate-mexican-wedding-cookies/?internalSource=staff%20pick&referringId=1557&referringContentType=recipe%20hub&clickId=cardslot%205

And last, but not least, these wicked Salted Chocolate Matzo Toffee from My Recipes:

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/salted-chocolate-matzo-toffee

We know your Labor Day weekend will be filled with fun in the last bit of sun for the summer-- and hopefully, chocolate. We just want to make the world a better place, one peace at a time. 

S'Mores Brownies
Chocolate Cream Pie
Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cookies
Salted Chocolate Matzo Toffee

Guys Vs. Girls Vs. Chocolate

The old “battle of the sexes” invades every aspect of life. Who is more intelligent? Who has more natural strength? Honestly, we don’t know the answers to those questions—and we don’t think they’re nearly as important as the one we posed: who likes chocolate more, guys or girls?

I asked friends, acquaintances, even a couple of strangers. When I posed this question, the overwhelming answer: GIRLS. But is that true? Do girls truly love chocolate more than guys do?

I hit the books to find some reasons why people in general crave chocolate. Chocolate actually increases serotonin in your brain, essentially making you happier. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness—higher levels leads to happy people; lower levels leads to less happy people. Women especially experience lower serotonin levels 7 to 10 days prior… to, uh— their time. Which is why so many women crave chocolate before their menstrual cycle. Women also experience a drop in their magnesium levels during this time, and chocolate has some of that, along with a few other trace minerals.

Some psychologists, however, argue that women craving chocolate is simply a “cultural phenomenon,” and has nothing to do with rising and falling hormonal levels. So why then, did so many people claim women like chocolate more than men?

My opinion? I agree with all of the science (I have to, or when I am craving chocolate I actually have to admit that I just enjoy sweets), but I don’t think that’s why women love chocolate more. I think men and women love chocolate equally. That’s right—exactly the same amount. I agree in part with the “cultural phenomenon” that it is totally socially acceptable for a woman to outright claim that she wants chocolate. So where does that leave men?

I think men are closet-chocolate lovers. I know of some men—my husband, for example—who refuses to say out loud that he has a love for chocolate. But when I bring home some Ziva Chocolates, he eats them late at night when I “don’t see” him eating them. Chocolate has been branded inherently feminine, but we all know that chocolate is everyone’s for the taking.

In conclusion, girls just love chocolate, guys lie about it. What are your thoughts on the chocolate phenomenon? Do girls truly love chocolate more, or is there an underground Guys-Love-Chocolate-More gang we have yet to discover? Let us know on Facebook, and maybe we can defeat the old trope of Guys versus Girls versus Chocolate, once and for all.

 

We just want to make the world a better place, one peace at a time.

Shame and Chocolate

We’ve all been there—we get this idea that we want to be healthy, we need to be healthy. “That’s it!” we say to ourselves. “I’m getting rid of every unhealthy thing in this house.” We proceed to toss cookies, chips, greasy snacks, and sadly, chocolate. Anything that even looks remotely tasty gets smashed into the over-flowing trash can as we try and force ourselves into obedience. Out of sight and out of mind is a wonderful concept—in theory.

If you are anything like most people—and I would say most people are like most people—it’s not necessarily that we have this desire to be healthy, as a desire to be perceived as healthy. We want the toned muscles, the lean, tanned bodies we see in the media every single day. We want to obtain this idealistic body type that most models or actors were born with and work hard to maintain. But we still want chocolate.

I know this might sound funny, coming from a chocolate company and all, but chocolate isn’t the enemy. Sure, if you eat chocolate for every meal and some times you sneak it in the middle of the night, that toned body might be a little farther away than you’d like. But the problem isn’t chocolate, or how much we consume (everything in moderation, of course). The problem is our perspective of the problem. Is someone who only eats salad better than someone who only eats chocolate? No. (Though either way we might be concerned… salad for every meal?) Every person is worthy, and every person matters, no matter what they eat and how often.

We don’t want to encourage anyone to eat chocolate all day every day and say it is because they love themselves—but we don’t want anyone to shame themselves, others, or their bodies because they enjoy some delicious foods as dessert or a special treat. Or maybe all you eat is salad, and we are cool with that. We are all human, and we all deserve love—and chocolate.

The next time you have a deep desire to be fit, remember—even being healthy requires moderation. Moderately trim what you don’t really need—but don’t shame yourself if you feel the need to snag a piece of chocolate every now and again.

 

For more about shame, I recommend the incredible shame researcher Brene Brown-- her Ted Talks and books. For more chocolate—see the rest of this website.

 

We love all of you, and we love chocolate. We just want to make the world better, one peace at a time.

For the Love of Chocolate

            Chocolate isn’t something that one can simply “like” or “try.” Chocolate is a love affair; that one little taste warms the soul, bit by bit, until it tantalizes our tongues enough for us to crave it to the ends of the earth. Is that the reason why Julie Whitcomb, founder of Ziva Chocolates, began her adventure into entrepreneurism? You could say it was for love.

            Julie is a master artisan, able to blend flavors and ingredients in such a way that one would assume she was born as a gift from chocolate gods. But Julie is human; she keeps ideas of chocolate combinations on her phone in the notes section, some used, some forgotten. She has a big dream and works hard. She is a bold leader, daring to push boundaries in the industry without losing a sense of who she is, and what Ziva stands for as a company.

            Ziva Chocolates is the easy, delicious dessert served up from the hard work our founder laid out. She creates connections with ease, and in turn happens on to some wonderful business opportunities. Anywhere the Ziva banner goes, someone has a great story about Julie.

            Julie has this deep love of people; this deep understanding that she could use her talents for good. For her, for her family, for her employees, for organizations that Ziva supports. For the smile that can be spread from person to person—by using chocolate.

            You may be thinking, “why the fuss about chocolate?” Well, my friend, if you haven’t tried something from Ziva, you may be used to plain, albeit yummy, boring chocolate. Have you ever tried bacon dipped in chocolate? Or hand-rolled bourbon infused truffles? Not only are these mouth-watering ideas brought to life by our founder, they are doing good for the world.

            We at Ziva Chocolates believe in making a difference. Sure, we sell chocolate. Sure, it would be entirely normal to simply continue to push for our success, our financial gain. We work hard to be successful, but we also work hard to support causes that do more for others. Which is why we are proud to continue offering support to organizations such as Sense of Security, Dress for Success, Family Tree, Maxfund, St. Jude Children's Hospital, The Denver Hospice, Excelsior Youth Center, GLBT, Movember, Jewish Family Service, and Extreme Community Makeover.

            We believe in making the world a better place, one piece at a time. All for the love of chocolate.