“I have this theory that chocolate slows down the ageing process …..It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance?”
“Chocolate makes everyone smile – even bankers” Chocolatier Benneville Strohe
“A new British survey reveals that nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person lies.” Robert Paul
According to that bible of news and information, the BBC, you can eat chocolate and lose weight. A better description of heaven is harder to imagine. This super food could only be improved - if chocolate was also an aphrodisiac. Imagine eating chocolate, losing weight and having a good sex life all at the same time. Montezuma, the Mexican king, thought this was possible as he reputedly drank fifty cups a day. But what if chocolate also extended your life (it is packed with anti-oxidants) - so you could eat chocolate, lose weight, have good sex and live longer. If that is not the "elixir of life" - I don't know what is. But what if this was not only true but you could do it all simultaneously?
Casanova must have achieved this state of affairs as he called chocolate the "elixir of love". He must have also discovered that chocolate is the only food that "melts" at body temperature. A BBC report indicated that melting chocolate in one's mouth produced an increase in brain activity and heart rate that was more intense than that associated with passionate kissing, and also lasted four times as long after the activity had ended.
Each nation's approach to chocolate gains insight into their national characters. The Germans, represented by Johan Francisas worried that chocolate was an "inflamer of the passions" and tried to suppress it.
The French and Italians saw chocolate as an aphrodisiac and positively encouraged it. When chocolate arrived at the French Court - it was like pouring petrol on a “bon”fire and it quickly became associated with fiery passions. Madame du Barry was reputed to encourage her lovers to drink chocolate to improve their stamina. The Marquis De Sade - well the less said the better!
The Spanish tried to keep it as a classified state secret, but then the papists classified chocolate as a drink - allowing their priests to eat (sorry drink it) during fasts.
The Swiss worried about exciting themselves too much, decided to weaken its powers by adding milk. After all they had more cows than cocoa - hence their invention of milk chocolate by a baby food manufacturer Mr Nestle.
The Brits approach shows the worst and best of their character. They were slow to recognise its worth: after robbing a Spanish galleon, they found to their horror cocoa beans, but no gold. So they burnt the lot - not realising that cocoa beans were worth their weight in gold.
The first cocoa cafe became a political hothouse -then an aristocratic hangout - eventually becoming that quintessentially English thing - a club - which is really an upper class pub - now known as Whites in St James.
Eventually the Brits, as a Nation of shopkeepers, couldn't help themselves and with the help of Quaker doctors set about making serious money - the Fry's and the Cadbury's being the most famous.
Chocolate was also a currency. To the Mayans 30 beans would get you a chicken and 350 a wife. This dowry demonstrated you were a "man of means” or “beans". Cocoa beans are what is called a hard currency and something our central banks can't just print more of. So as Easter approaches – and our paper currencies become worth less and less, bear in mind that at least with cocoa beans they acted as a fixed medium of exchange and if they did become worthless, you can eat them instead. By the way cocoa also disproves the theory that money doesn't grow on trees!
Have a good weekend.