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Nancy Pelosi is greeted by a scrum of reporters as she leaves the speaker’s meeting. July 24, 2019. Vanity Fair. PHOTOGRAPH BY ANNIE LEIBOVITZ.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-CA), the most powerful woman in the history of American politics, legendary for her strong work ethic, has a weakness.

“I’ve been eating dark chocolate ice cream for breakfast for as long as I can remember, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (b. 1940) told Food & Wine. “I don’t see it as different from having a cup of coffee,” which she doesn’t drink, preferring a cup of hot water with lemon. Among her favorite ice cream flavors is New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Pelosi doesn’t restrict herself to just having chocolate for breakfast. Her husband got her a stationary bike once, and during the brief period that she actually used it, as she doesn’t exercise, she ate pints of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate ice cream the entire time.“It’s okay to eat ice cream while you’re riding a bike,” Pelosi told The Huffington Post. “If you can’t eat ice cream while you’re doing it, why would you do it?”

Surrounded by her grandchildren and other children, Nancy Pelosi is sworn in for her second time as U.S. Speaker of the House. She is second in line for the presidency. Jan. 3, 2019

For Pelosi, eating chocolate is not just a pleasure trip. When asked how she managed to get through the grueling health care debates of 2009-2010 that resulted in the victorious passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Pelosi replied, “Chocolate. Very, very dark chocolate.” She eats chocolate round the clock and in many forms. By 4 p.m. on the day of the Huff Post interview, for example, she had already eaten chocolate truffles, chocolate candy, and a dark chocolate bar that day. Sometimes she eats chocolate before bed and regrets it, waking at 3 a.m. with a sugar high. She admits her vice openly:

I don’t know what it is. But some call it dedication, some call it an addiction, others call it an affliction.

Pelosi’s Capitol Hill office is always fully-stocked with Ghiradelli chocolate bars, which are made in her San Francisco district. When she’s back home, Pelosi makes a point to go to ice cream shops and get “all-around brown” milkshakes, which involve chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup and chocolate milk. Some shops don’t carry chocolate milk anymore, she notes, but she just makes up for that gap by “going heavy” on the syrup, which adds to the cost but pays off in richness of flavor.

On March 26, 2014, then Speaker John Boehner sent then Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pints of chocolate gelato for her birthday.

 

“Here’s hoping — and guessing — you didn’t give up chocolate for Lent,” Boehner wrote. Lent is a time on the Christian calendar that falls in the early spring. During Lent, many Christians choose to give up a favorite food or something else important to them.

That year, Nancy Pelosi had indeed given up something important to her—and that something was chocolate. Asked by a colleague, “How’s it going?” meaning her Lenten sacrifice, Pelosi replied, “Terrible. I’m dying.”

In November of 2018, Speaker Pelosi showcased her love of chocolate when she appeared in the green room for a taping of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Blindfolded and smiling, she performed a chocolate taste test for the cameras.

Related: Roald Dahl: The Joy of Chocolate

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