Chocolate

The food of the Gods…… We’ve been playing with this stuff for nearly 3,000 years and it’s only continued to increase in popularity.

What you know as chocolate is actually the seed of the Theobroma Cacao tree that have been fermented, then roasted and ground into a paste before being further processed in various forms. Even this took a few hundred years.

Traditionally made into a bitter drink that was prized by the Aztecs, it took Westerns a while to find a way to adapt it to suite their taste by adding honey, vanilla, sugar and other spices.

It was a Dutch guy named Coenraad van Houten who really changed the game and ushered in what we would call the “Modern Era” of Chocolate starting with adding alkaline salts to cut down on the bitterness then a few years later, developing a way to extract the fat.

While the plant itself is native to Central and south America roughly two thirds of Chocolate now comes from Western Africa and there are three main types of Chocolate. The first is called Criollo and it’s the rarest partly due the fact that it’s a pain in the ass to grow and doesn’t yield much volume. Forastero is most likely what you’ve eaten but in terms of quality, it’s rather bland. Trinitario is a hybrid of the two and gets its name due to being developed in Trinidad.

With cooking, the applications are wide ranging and while there is no such thing as an “Aphrodisiac”, for most people chocolate does still some very strong emotions. Fresh berries dipped in melted chocolate with a bit of sea salt can be a game changer. If this doesn’t help your chances with a girl, well, you never really had a chance.

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