With Valentine's Day just around the corner, many retailers have their shelves already stocked with different varieties of chocolates, from smooth milk chocolate to bold dark chocolate.

Whether you're spending the day with a loved one, planning to celebrate love by yourself or with your friends, or if you just simply love chocolate, you may want to take these factors into consideration before you go on a chocolate shopping spree.

Aphrodisiac

Rumor has it that chocolate has properties that could aid in stimulating romance. Chemically speaking, the rumors are true. The cacao component in chocolate has trace amounts of phenylethylamine, which helps release dopamine and norepinephrine, chemicals associated with feelings of love.

So the higher the cacao content, the higher the aphrodisiac properties right? Not quite. The human body is so quick to metabolize PEA the moment it enters the gut that it leaves no significant effects on the brain. In this particular department, it's a tie between milk and dark chocolate.

Texture

The basic difference between milk and dark chocolate lie in its ingredients. Milk chocolate generally has a higher milk protein content that gives it the smooth, silky texture that many love. The butter fats soften the cocoa butter, leaving milk chocolate with a velvety smooth texture that's perfect for melting and pairing with fruits and the like. Dark chocolate's texture, while pleasant, isn't quite as smooth because of its significantly lesser milk protein content. It still depends on personal preference, but texture-wise, milk chocolate's smoothness takes the cake.

Taste

Differences in chocolate taste lie in the differences in the cooking process plus the different cacao species used in making the chocolate. The fact is, the more strains of cacao used, the more complex the flavors. Since dark chocolate generally has higher cacao content (which producers proudly display on their labels), there are more possibilities of rich and complex flavors.

Money

Cocoa doesn't come cheap. Since milk chocolate has a lower amount of cacao and you'd see dark chocolate in shelves boasting of high percentages of cacao, it's clear that quantity wise (and budget wise), you could get a lot more chocolate with your cash if you've got milk chocolate in mind.

Bonus: Health Benefits

If you'll be spending Valentine's Day with twice the usual amount of chocolate in your system, you may as well take these health benefits into consideration.

Chocolate has Flavanols, a compound with antioxidant potentials that has been seen to have the capability to combat cancer causing free radicals, lower blood pressure and limit heart disease. Further, Flavanols have been seen to induce the release of Nitric Oxide which opens up blood vessels for better heart health. Generally speaking, more cacao means more Flavanols, so in the regard, dark chocolate wins. In addition, dark chocolate has half the sugar, four times the fiber, over five times the iron and twice the potassium content compared to milk chocolate.

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