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.
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
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
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
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
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
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:
A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
An Exquisite Indulgence (Miniature Edition)
To try some of the best chocolates in the world:
Belgian Chocolates: 1 lb Signature General Assortment
Chai (37%) Crystalized Ginger, Chai Spices Bar, 2.0-Ounces Bars
(Pack of 12)
~The Rebecca Review
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
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
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
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
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.
~The Rebecca Review
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
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
~The Rebecca Review
Milk Chocolate with Rice
Protect Endangered Species
"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
, September 19,
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
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
~The Rebecca Review
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
I worked on this recipe for years...
Sites of Quotes:
Java Quotes and Poetry
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
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
This also is made with Vanilla Absolute and Cocoa Absolute. Both are
often used as base notes in perfume.
~The Rebecca Review
Secret: Follow the
Chocolate Tag Link
after you click through on the Willy Wonka link to find
an entire list of chocolate treasures...