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Drinking chocolate

What I Learned About Chocolate

chocolocateteam — 1 year ago

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Would you consider your self a choco-holic?

  • Absolutely

    20%

  • No Way

    0%

  • Depends on the Day!

    80%

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.

Dripping Chocolate
Chocolate really never lost its importance after that.

Chocolate Bar
In WW2, there are records of soldiers who – after surviving a torpedo attack -- lasted 5 days in a lifeboat, with nothing to eat but chocolate.
Tin soldiers
Air Force pilots sent out to fly suicide missions were often given a field survival kit that included three things: morphine, a bible, and chocolate. Meanwhile, the Germans used the seductive powers of chocolate to create a deadly weapon: a chocolate bomb that was designed to detonate seven seconds after the victim tried to bite into it.
The power of Chocolate
This is the strange power of chocolate.

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.

Truffles

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.

Delish

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.

Chocolate Cell Phone
I was also very intrigued by a Dutchman by the name of Peter Lardong. It seems that after losing his job at a brewery, the part-time inventor came up with a process to make chocolate records – you know, the old-fashioned things people used to play before MP3s and CDs. Using cocoa, cocoa butter and lecithin, Peter melts and pours the chocolate into silicone molds, freezes the molds, and creates a pretty realistic looking chocolate LP. The most amazing part is that it actually plays! On average you can get twelve spins on the old turntable before the grooves wear out. Then, of course, you eat it.

Last but not least, I came across a group of people in California who are practicing disciples of something called the Church of Chocolate.

BonBons
Preparation
Simply put, they are a non-profit religious organization that supports and celebrates the “theology of chocolate”. My understanding is that part of their services include chocolate communion. The proverb they live by is De gustibus non est disputandum or "there is no arguing with taste". As their website proudly states: “Every taste of chocolate assures us that chocolate exists and that there is a Supreme Bean.”

Suddenly my head hurts.

Interested in learning more about raw food and fair trade chocolate? Be sure to check out our blog here

Chocolate, documentary, FairTrade, FairTradeChocolate, LalitaKrishna, RawChocolate, RawFood, Semisweet

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