Dark secrets

Appears in the December 2021 issue.

The holidays have a way of making Cathy Bouchard, owner of Le Chocolat du Bouchard in Naperville, reflect on painful days past, before she discovered the healing powers of chocolate. But not that “adulterated” candy-store dreck—real dark chocolate made from cacao beans. Prior to 2001, Bouchard says, her fibromyalgia was too crippling to bear: “There were days when I prayed, ‘Just take me, Lord.’ ” Luckily, her love for France—and its love for ultra-dark chocolate—inspired her to try a new prescription regimen: two bits of dark chocolate, 70 percent cocoa or higher, every morning and evening.

Today, she’s pain-free, thanks in part to that chocolate. At her French-inspired Naperville pâtisseries and bistro, there are all sorts of chocolate treats—cakes, pastries, and cream-filled delights—but she keeps boxes of her 70 percent cocoa Chocolate Regimen truffles up front. “My mission,” she says, “is to prove that dark chocolate is the most perfect food on the planet.” No. 1 because she’s experienced its effects firsthand, and No. 2 because the medical data supporting its benefits is growing. Her goal? Transport people to Paris via her shop and ease some suffering by doing so. Achieving either, she says, is indeed a holiday miracle worth chasing. 

Photo courtesy Le Chocolat du Bouchard