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The True History of Chocolate

 

Chocolate Cake Photographic Print by Peter Johansky

 

 

"Experts have long known that dark chocolate contains substances, known as 
polyphenol flavonoids, that are heart healthy; this research reveals that the sweet 
actually improves the functioning of the endothelium, a layer of cells in arteries 
(including those in the heart) that prevents plaque buildup and protects 
against high blood pressure." ~Sarí N. Harrar, February 2005, Prevention

 

The True History of Chocolate

 

5 out of 5 stars For the Love of Chocolate

“The ultimate origin of processed chocolate, though, seems to lie with the Olmec of the lowland forests of southern Mexico, some three millennia in the past, as shall be seen in Chapter Two.” pg. 13

When reading another book called: “Food: A Culinary History,” we find information on Chocolate telling of how chocolate was “discovered.” They basically explain how the Spanish discover chocolate when they colonized the New World and explain how the Aztecs had used chocolate in their rituals.

Which rituals? (You will be shocked)
Who actually first discovered the Theobroma cacao plant/tree or learned how to use the beans (they look a lot like giant almonds in the picture) in the pods (look like an elongated squash) growing directly from the tree trunk? (It wasn’t the Aztecs)
Do ungerminated beans have the same flavor as germinated beans?

The story of chocolate is extremely detailed. This book traces the discovery of chocolate from it’s earliest pre-Columbian roots to modern times. The way we serve chocolate today almost seems primitive when you read how many ways the Aztecs made their chocolate drinks.

Honeyed Chocolate
Flowered Chocolate
Green Vanilla Flavored Chocolate
Bright Red Chocolate

It is amazing how this book came together as it has, because Sophie D. Coe was diagnosed with cancer before the book was completed. Her husband, Michael D. Coe, took on the responsibility of literally thousands of pages of notes and finished a book she started.

The authors spent hundreds of hours tracing down all possible references to chocolate in Libraries in America and Europe. They also searched in 400-year-old books in the Biblioteca Angelica in Rome.

The story of Chocolate is amazing. Just the way it is made is a process that was kept secret for many years.

From Research I’ve done in the past:

Seed pods, growing on the trunk and main branches are harvested and opened with sharp blades to reveal creamy white cacao beans which darken, then ferment under banana leaves for up to nine days as they lay in the sun. After an hour-long roasting process, the beans are dehulled leaving small pieces called nibs.

Cocoa powder results from ground roasted beans which have the cocoa butter removed. After the cocoa butter is extracted, dry cakes of cocoa are ground and sifted to make fine cocoa powder. Most cocoa powder is naturally 97.75% caffeine-free. A 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder contains about .0002 ounces of caffeine. There is 10 times as much caffeine in a 6-ounce cup of coffee.

The Dutch chemist Coenraad Van Houten added alkali to neutralize the acidity of chocolate and mellow the flavor. This is how the darker Dutch-process cocoa was created. Black cocoa is slightly more bitter and is the darkest cocoa powder available. It is best combined with a Dutch-process cocoa powder. When manufacturers make chocolate bars, the roasted beans are crushed with sugar and vanilla to make chocolate liquor.

The chocolate liquor is refined to evaporate excess moisture and acidity, then it is ground so fine that the mouth no longer perceives the beans as individual particles. After heating and cooling, chocolate is poured into molds, cooled and wrapped to be sold as bittersweet, semisweet or unsweetened chocolate bars, depending on sugar content or lack of it.

This book takes you on a "chocolate" journey. This is a book about the history of chocolate and does contain some rather interesting “chocolate drink formulas.”

I guess one of my only objections might include places where the authors called a ritual “spectacular” instead of “detailed/extravagant.” It made it seem that they were defending the Aztec’s brutal way of life although I’m sure they were not. They just tried to look at the reality of the situation and probably found the rituals rather out of the ordinary. The reason for the rituals seems based on “fear that the world would end.”

~The Rebecca Review

 

Chocolate Unwrapped

 

 

5.0 out of 5 stars No More Guilt - Eat Chocolate Daily for Your Health, March 6, 2010
"For 95 percent of its three-thousand-year history, chocolate has been a drink and a health food." ~ pg. 8

"Chocolate Unwrapped" is an intriguing little book that will completely convince you that chocolate is a healthy food. Dark chocolate that is! It is amazing to learn that chocolate has more antioxidants than blueberries, oranges, onions or eggplant.

Rowan Jacobsen has a pleasant writing style and draws you into each chapter with tantalizing details. There is a brief discussion about caffeine, theobromine, serotonin, tryptophan, phenylethylamine and anandamide.

If you are concerned about labor practices and environmental issues, Rowan Jacobsen gives information on where to buy the best chocolates so you can eat them guilt free. There is also a chapter of recipes which include a few savory recipes along with the sweet.

Overall, I loved this book and felt the information was presented in a very pleasing manner. It is well organized and covers all the main facts you could ever want to know about how chocolate is made.

If you read this book and are still interested in more information, I can recommend:

Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light

Chocolate: An Exquisite Indulgence (Miniature Edition)

To try some of the best chocolates in the world:

Leonidas Belgian Chocolates: 1 lb Signature General Assortment

Dagoba Chai (37%) Crystalized Ginger, Chai Spices Bar, 2.0-Ounces Bars (Pack of 12)

~The Rebecca Review

 

 

Naked Chocolate

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Healthy Alternatives to Highly Processed Chocolates, March 16, 2009
"Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies." ~ John Q. Tullius

David Wolfe and Shazzie were undoubtedly high on chocolate when they wrote this wonderful book on the history and uses of chocolate. There are many pages of full-color pictures and in particular a good picture of cacao trees. The book is divided into four main sections:

I: Cacao - legends of cocao, a brief history of chocolate, money does grow on trees

II: Scientific Properties of Chocolate - chemical composition of cacao, magnesium, antioxidants, Theobromine and Caffeine, Phenylethylamine, Anandamide and Tryptophan

III: Exotic Properties of Chocolate - Aphrodisia, nature's prozac, chocolate as medicine, chocolate yoga and overcoming chocolate addictions.

IV: Chocolate Alchemy - Organic food, ancient chocolate drinks, cacao's best friends, what to do with cacao beans, recipes.

At times the writing gets a bit technical (see the chemical composition of cocao) but overall they seemed to be having fun and most of the chapters were entertaining to read. There is interesting information - like why cocoa powder is called "dutch processed." After reading about the combination of mulberries and chocolate you might make yourself an interesting shake. You may however want to skip using milk and go for coconut milk or water. Apparently milk "cancels out the effects of antioxidants" in chocolate. I had also never heard that cocoa powder is added to weight loss products to diminish appetite. So eating chocolate may help you to lose weight.

The recipe section is very interesting if you can eat coconut and any nuts. I am currently allergic to nuts so I basically could only dream of what most of the recipes would taste like. If you want to try the recipes be prepared to make a visit to your local health food store. You will need ingredients like oat groats, figs, almonds, cherries, raw agave nectar, bee pollen, hemp seeds and coconut oil. One of the simplest recipes for chocolate fruit sorbet includes chocolate powder (crushed cocao beans or nibs), water, agave nectar and a vanilla bean. Some of the recipes require a dehydrator, juicer, coffee mill, blender and food processor. You could also grind cacao nibs in a mortar and pestle.

To put things in perspective a 2.5 pound bag of organic raw cacao nibs is around $50. You may want to start with a smaller bag $11 - Organic Raw Chocolate Cacao Nibs 8-oz.. Amazon also sells a small bag of beans - Sunfood Nutrition Chocolate Cacao Beans.

It was interesting to read that elevated levels of phenylethylamine (PEA) "the love chemical" can occur when you read a good book. I myself felt a little high on information while reading this delicious book. If you have any interest in chocolate you will love this book.

~The Rebecca Review

 

 

Winter Morning Hot Chocolate

 

Creamy Rich Hot Chocolate, December 23, 2006

One sip of this especially creamy rich hot chocolate makes waking up on a cold wintery morning worthwhile. The mix blends easily into hot milk and if you use a whisk a lovely foamy topping appears. This is also perfect with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg. Sugar, ground Guittard chocolate, pure vanilla, chocolate-liquor, whey, nonfat milk and soybean oil makes up the cocoa mix.

This seems much more creamy than mixes made with coconut oil or palm kernel oil. This mix is perfect as it is, but if you want an even darker chocolate flavor, stir in a teaspoon of cocoa powder. You can also mix in espresso powder, cinnamon or vanilla. This very morning I made a cup with nonfat milk, but I was naughty and added in a little cream. You can also blend this into coffee for a delicious mocha.

This mix is better than anything you will find at the grocery store. I've tried so many hot chocolate mixes and this one stole my heart. The secret is the Guittard chocolate and the way King Arthur Flour blends a little love into everything they make.

There also did seem to be some rather morbid uses for chocolate in the past. There is also a passage that says something about a “baseless” claim for chocolate having aphrodisiac properties. We do know that it contains substances, which do produce an “in love” feeling.

What really had my attention was the topic of Crillo beans vs. “Forastero” beans. The Crillo tree produces the best quality beans, while the Forastero produces a more bitter bean. Valrhona Manjari is made exclusively with rare Indian Ocean Crillo beans. This gives the chocolate a winey, bittersweet flavor and incredible aroma.

If you have yet to taste this or use it in cooking, look for it online or by looking for the N.Y. Cake and Baking Distributor catalog or Formaggio Kitchen catalog.

Valrhona chocolate is of course considered to be one of the finest chocolates in the world. I myself won’t use anything but Valrhona Manjari in my Chocolate Ice Cream and Mocha Freeze. I also discovered Valrhona Caraque for use in Truffles. The authors also include the meaning for “Manjari” which is “Sanskrit for “bouquet.”

If you are hungry for information about chocolate, this is the best book I’ve read so far. It is intensely detailed and does seem to have been written because of a love for chocolate!

Have a few cups while you read. Just don’t forget the whipped cream and nutmeg! 

~The Rebecca Review

 

 

Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate

 

Head Rush Hot Chocolate, October 25, 2006

If you were to imagine drinking hot chocolate in an ice storm, that might be close to the experience of smooth chocolaty bliss merging with ice crystals slipping through a straw and melting onto your tongue.

Ingredients: Sugar, non-fat dry milk, dextrose and cocoas processed with alkali. The blend of cocoa powders is especially rich and smooth.

This is a super fast dessert to make because all you do is put milk in a blender, add the packet of cocoa and then blend with a few cups of ice.

Within seconds of sharing this with my husband, we both knew we had been drinking this beverage too fast. Brain freeze! You can drink this much faster than a milkshake. You have been warned. It is tempting and delicious, but may need to be sipped more slowly...or not.

Optional toppings include whipped cream and of course chocolate shavings. Sipping this while wearing Opium perfume is a fun experience. It seems to enhance the experience and add new levels to the chocolate perfection. Oh I think I feel a sugar rush coming on...

My favorite way to drink this:

1. Turn on heating blanket when the weather turns cold.
2. Climb into bed wearing something silky.
3. Sip away while reading poetry.

So delicious!

~The Rebecca Review

 

 

DK CHOCOLATE

 

Food for the gods..., February 21, 2001

In "Ultimate Chocolate" you will be seduced into reading the story of chocolate. Did you know that chocolate grows in spindle-shaped pods that form on the Theobroma cacao tree? You will love reading about how chocolate is produces from the pods which reveal beans and then finally nibs which are used to make chocolate.

Patricia Lousada explains all the delicious details and then gives the secrets for selecting chocolates for your own home cooking. She explains how to successfully melt chocolate. There is detailed information on how to temper chocolate which is only needed for formal candy making.

Do you remember the first time you tasted chocolate eclairs or Belgium truffles? The pictures in this book will send you right to the kitchen. The step-by-step instructions help to turn the pictures into a reality. Adding a professional finishing touch to cakes is also easy when you can follow the step-by-step pictures.

Personalizing chocolate treats is easy when you know how to make chocolate curls, ribbons, flowers, leaves, baskets, boxes, cut-outs and curls. You can choose to make the simplest chocolate mousse or a wedding cake which will serve 100 guests.

Other recipes you will want to try include: Chocolate Pecan Pie, Chocolate Rum Fondue, Pecan Chocolate Fudge Cake, Austrian Sacher Torte, Chocolate Shortbreads, White Chocolate and Lime Mousse and a variety of Chocolate Sauces.

Delicious, decadent and visually satisfying. Enter the world of chocolate seduction.

~The Rebecca Review

 

Milk Chocolate with Rice

Protect Endangered Species, September 19, 2007
"Ethically traded means we source our cacao fruit from small family-owned farms that thrive in the forest, which in turn provides natural preservation for the species that live there. This practice also ensures economic well-being for the communities in which the farms are located." ~ back of wrapper

While I'm normally tentative about trying new chocolates the endangered species chocolates looked interesting. The manatee chocolate bar is made with milk chocolate, crisp rice, beet sugar and vanilla. They are slightly less sweet than normal milk chocolate bars and have a smooth buttery appeal. While some milk chocolate bars can be overly sweet, the beet sugar seems to enhance the chocolate flavor. I will definitely try more of the endangered species chocolates and can highly recommend this one to chocolate connoisseurs.

~The Rebecca Review

 

 

Dolfin Orange Blossom Chocolates

 

Orange Blossom Heaven, February 7, 2006

If you enjoy the scent of Orange Blossom, wait until you experience the aromatic elements in the Dolfin petal chocolates. This beautiful box contains some of the most delicious delicate chocolates in the world. Dolfin goes beyond creating chocolates and is actually creating art in a box.

The dark chocolate is superior in taste and when combined with green tea, vanilla and essential oils, it becomes a superior chocolate to be enjoyed with a cup of tea or as a delicious escape.

I'm buying a second box and also trying the lavender chocolates next. I was a little tentative when I noticed sugar as the first ingredient, but these are not overly sweet and are definitely dark chocolates.

~The Rebecca Review

 


Pacifica Brazilian Mexican Cocoa

Pacifica Chocolate Candle

 


Gourmet Cocoa Powder

Premium Dutch Cocoa Powder - 1lb

 

 

 

Delicious Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
I worked on this recipe for years...

 

 


Chocolate Fantasy

 

Chocolate Gift Basket with Bear

 

The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book

Chocolate Quotes


Sites of Quotes: 

Virtual Chocolate

Famous Chocolate Quotes

Cocoa Java Quotes and Poetry

 

Beauty Products

Heavenly Bodies Chocolate Buttercream by LUSH

 

Warm Chocolate Orange , April 10, 2007

"Because the base note is the scent that lasts the longest on the skin, it mixes most deeply with the wearer's body chemistry." ~ Scents & Sensibilities

Imagine the scent of French Nougat with a chocolate coating and you have the scent of Lush's delicious fruity chocolate buttercream. The Lush Buttercreams are a blend of 85% skin softening oil and butters blended with 15% soap. So, you get lots of lovely oils to soften your skin and this one also has a delicious "this must be edible" fragrance.

You might like using this after a bath, smooth is all over and then rinse off with a quick shower. This seals in moisture and is made with wonderful ingredients like orange juice, Rhassoul Mud, Jojoba Oil, Cocoa Butter, Orange Blossom Infusion, Sweet Orange Oil and Tangerine Oil.

This also is made with Vanilla Absolute and Cocoa Absolute. Both are often used as base notes in perfume.

~The Rebecca Review

 

 

Movies

Secret: Follow the Chocolate Tag Link
after you click through on the Willy Wonka link to find
an entire list of chocolate treasures...

Pacifica Chocolate Candle

 

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