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Wednesday, June 23, 2004
CHOCOLATE is a universal symbol of LOVE. ever since its discovery by the Aztecs in ancient Mexico, it has been used as a gift-- a concrete expression of a thousand feelings too sweet, too complex for mere words.

LOVE needs a tangible language, for LOVE cannot be contained nor expressed by even the most sophisticated vocabulary. music expresses love to our ears..., flowers are a visual symbol of our feelings....and CHOCOLATE allows us to taste LOVE'S SWEETNESS.

The first cacao trees grew wild in the rain forests of the land of Orinoco river basins over four thousand years ago. by the seventh century AD, the Mayans had cultivated these trees, they paid taxes to the Aztecs with cocoa beans. during Montezuma's regime, a drink made from the beans was considered sacred. it could be imbibed only by the male elite and the beans were used as currency.

" The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. a cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food". (Aztec Emperor Montezuma (c. 1480-1520)

When the conquistador Hernando Cortes returned from Mexico in 1520, he introduced his own version fo the chocolate drink to the court of King Charles V. when Columbus had tried to impress Europeans with the same drink, they had turned up their noses at the bitter brew, but Cortes caught the King's attention by adding sugar and vanilla to the chocolate . words of this new drink quickly spread througout spain.

During the 17th and 18th century, chocolate consumption spread throughout Europe. at first only the wealthy could afford it, but the French revolution also meant that chocolate beans to be consumed by the common folks as well as the aristocracy. in 1826 the Dutch invented a cocoa press that further reduced the price of chocolate.

Just as the Aztecs had considered chocolate to be sacred, Europeans now thought of chocolate as a therapeutic, health giving substance. Quaker families in England, such as the Fryes and Cardburies, began producing chocolate, promoting it as a "HEALTHY AND FLESH FORMING", a far more better alternative to gin.

In 1847, the Fry chocolate factories in Bristol, England molded the first chocolate bar, and in 1850 Richard Cardbury made the fist Valentines Day heart candy box. milk chocolate was invented in 1879 by two swiss chocolate manufacturers, Henri Nestle and Daniel Peter. in the USA Milton Hershey brought the mass production to chocolate manufacturing. he was also the first to experiment with the use of vegetable fats instead of pure cocoa, which raised the melting point of a candy bar. chocolate could then withstand the heat of American summers and could also be shipped to the troops during world war II.

The US governemnt recognized chocolate's importance to both nourishment and morale of the allied forces so much so that it allocated valuable shipping space for the importance of cocoa beans.

(abstracted from teh book of Ellyn Sanna, "A Celebration of Love and Chocolate")
posted by infraternam meam @ 4:19 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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