chocolocateteam — 44 weeks ago
Would you consider your self a choco-holic?
The first thing I learned while doing research for the film Semisweet is that chocolate has been around for a long, long time. The common belief is that cacao originated in a region along the border of what is now Ecuador and Colombia. As far back as 1500 BCE, the fruit and seeds from the cacao plant were used by the Olmec Civilization (who gave way to the Mayans, who gave way to the Aztecs, who gave way to the Europeans).
I highly doubt, however, that people today would be too crazy about the type of chocolate the ancients were eating back then. For one thing, they didn’t eat it – they drank it. For another, their chocolate was really bitter, not sweetened at all like the chocolate we know today. This cold, bitter beverage was the ancient world’s answer to Power Bars or Red Bull -- they would give it to their soldiers to fortify them as they left to fight in battle.
In the world of the Theravada Buddhists – an extremely strict order of monks – one of their basic rules says that they can’t eat anything after the stroke of noon. The only thing they’re allowed to consume the rest of the day is tea, juice, hard and soft cheese, miso, crystallized ginger, sugar, honey, soymilk -- and dark chocolate. A recent poll taken in Britain found that 50% of women admitted they would rather have chocolate than sex.
People love chocolate so much that it’s made it’s way into dozens of products available on the market -- including candles, beer, toothpaste, condoms, and cigarettes. Part of my research had to do with finding characters to tell the big story of chocolate. Before I finally settled on the people in my film, there were many other interesting candidates. From South Korea, there was Kim Do-Yeon, a self-proclaimed chocolate addict. The 21-year-old woman likes chocolate so much that she claims to have eaten more than 1.2 metric tons of it in the last six years. Apparently, to quench her daily cravings, she pours melted chocolate over her noodles, her salads, her soups – or whatever else she may be eating that day. Amazingly – in the picture I saw – Kim looked very trim and fit.
Then there was avant-garde artist Stephen Shanabrook who -- in his attempt to stress the connection between humans and chocolate -- created chocolate art installations using molds made from impressions of goat fetuses collected from slaughterhouses. Yum, yum, give me some.
Last but not least, I came across a group of people in California who are practicing disciples of something called the Church of Chocolate.
Suddenly my head hurts.
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