Adrienne's Reviews > The True History of Chocolate

The True History of Chocolate by Sophie D. Coe
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Dec 09, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction, book-count-2010
Read from December 04 to 07, 2010

Before I read this book I didn't know much about the origin of one of my most favorite treats: chocolate.

The authors spend a very large portion of the book talking about chocolate's very early history in Central America. Contrary to popular belief, the Aztecs didn't invent chocolate, although the drank lots of it. Earlier civilizations, like the Mayans and Olmecs can be credited with the invention of chocolate, although not in a form we would probably recognize today. All the early Central American civilizations drank chocolate instead of eating it. And they didn't put sugar in it, but used other spices instead.

Once chocolate got to Europe in the 1500s-1600s, it was still a drink, not a foodstuff. And it was the drink of the elite. Royalty, aristocrats and high Catholic clerics all drank a lot of chocolate. And they put things we might recognize today in it, like sugar and vanilla. It was treated as a medicine, though, not as a treat. It wasn't until the industrial era that chocolate became an eatable treat, sold in bar form, like we know it today.

This was a fascinating read, and I got through it pretty quickly too, although I would recommend having some chocolate around while you read it, it's pretty torturous to be reading about such a tasty treat without having some around for yourself!
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