My Weeknight Treat: One Perfect Square of Chocolate

Cooking for One

After dinner, I sometimes crave something sweet but don't want to necessarily break open a box of cookies. (We've talked about the challenges of keeping sweets in the house when you're living alone.) Thankfully my favorite solo after dinner treat is simple: a single square of high-quality, intensely flavored chocolate and about seven minutes of quiet time.

I want to maximize the experience of having a treat, to really appreciate it so I'm not just wolfing it down without any attention. This is where a little taste of dark chocolate comes in handy.

My ritual is simple. After dinner I break off a square of a favorite chocolate, sit myself down somewhere comfortable and place the chocolate on my tongue. And then I just relax, letting the chocolate slowly melt, filling my mouth with its intense, complex flavors. I resist chewing and allow the experience last as long as possible. It usually takes a little over five minutes for it to be done and by then my experience has been so full and focused that I really don't want any more. (Really!)

The two most important elements here are good chocolate and quiet focus. Since I'm only eating one square at a time, I can justify the cost of a really good chocolate bar which I know will last me a couple of weeks. Higher quality chocolate usually has a complex flavor profile and it's fun trying different bars from many places around the globe. Paying attention to the experience in a relaxed, quiet way is key to feeling perfectly satisfied and content.

Related: How a Single Layer Cake Makes Everything Just a Little Nicer

(Image: Dana Velden)

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Main, Chocolate, Ingredient, Sweets

Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, Fall, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.