Join Danielle as she visits Kathy Moskal at Verē Chocolate, an organic chocolate factory in Manhattan. Also, get tips as Danielle plans the ultimate organic Valentine's Day. (Nick Scott/MNN)

Also on MNN: Check out our Valentine's Day section. 

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Danielle: What do you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day? Chocolate. So, here we are today at Verē Chocolate with Kathy Moskal, talking a little bit about sustainability as it pertains to chocolate.

Kathy: All the chocolate that we use at Verē is either certified organic or certified by the Rainforest Alliance to be sustainably grown with fair prices for the farmers.

Danielle: In tasting your chocolate, which I loved, it seems that it’s all dark chocolate, is that right?

Kathy: Yes.

Danielle: Okay. So is there a particular reason why?

Kathy: Yes, there are a lot of reasons. To get the benefits, the health benefits of chocolate, you have to have at least 70 percent cacao content; and when you have that content, it’s heart healthy, it lowers your bad cholesterol, raises your good cholesterol, and it has a lot of phenylalanine, which people refer to as PEA or the love chemical.

Danielle: All right.

Kathy: So, it’s very important at Valentine’s to give your sweetheart dark chocolate or else you won’t get the desired effect.

Danielle: Now that we know exactly what to look for in the chocolate, we can start focusing on our party décor. So, in this concept, I think it would be great — let your friends go out to dinner, if they have a significant other, they can all have their private dinner together and then why don't you bring everyone together for a great cocktail party? As far as beverages go, here’s a great sampling of some things that you can do. I took a little vintage coffee pot that I have and I’m actually serving organic hot chocolate from it. And it’s really nice to have everything on display. If people can just come and grab it, they’re much more inclined to indulge in things when it’s all pre-prepared for them. So, here’s some organic hot chocolate in these little vintage mugs. Some with all-natural marshmallows right on top. And here’s some organic ice cream. You can find that; usually there’s a vendor at your farmers market or a natural food store in the area. And of course, organic champagne, because what is Valentine’s Day without champagne? And we have our either farmers market roses or organic roses from your local florist if they have it. So we have a selection here. Some of them from Verē, of course. They’re just like so beautiful. So over here, I have a couple really great brands that I just want to share with you that you can order online. Coco Vino is another local one for us here in New York. We have some more Verē options. Divine Chocolates. And then, of course, a big hunk of chocolate, which just gets straight to the point.

Of course, we want lots of nibbles all around for everyone. So, some great ideas are some just cute little scones, just different colored pastries.  I went for a New York classic, the black and white cookie, but it’s a sustainable take on it, completely organic. And then, just a big mix of lots of treats for people to nibble on. So, between this table and our other chocolate bar, BYO organic chocolate table, and our beverage/ice cream table, we’ve got a lot of options and people are definitely going to be happy and toasted.

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