The story of chocolate is a hedonistic tale of treasure and desire for dominance over the tiny cocoa bean.
Although, most of us think about chocolate in bars, truffles or as fudge, the first chocolate was consumed as a beverage. But to call chocolate merely a beverage is a serious injustice.
After all, the story of chocolate is a hedonistic tale of treasure and desire for dominance over the tiny cocoa bean. The Aztec and Mayan Indians used cocoa beans as currency, never dreaming that once ground and roasted, they would make a beverage that 200 years later Europeans would crave. Americans had to wait another 200 years for their lust to begin.
Spanish explorers thought enough of chocolate to load cargo ships with mountains of cocoa beans piled alongside precious metals, gold and gems. When they returned to Spain, the royalty adopted this mystical beverage as an elixir of the elite.
To this day, I don’t understand why chocolate is so important to me. But it seems that for the past 50 years, it has always been there for me like a friend, never questioning or judging me.
As Valentine’s Day rapidly approaches, consider starting your morning with a cup of hot chocolate — real hot chocolate. I leave you with a favorite chocolate quote: “Chocolate is cheaper than therapy, and you don’t need an appointment.” I don’t know who said it, but clearly, it was a wise person.
—By Chef Steve Petusevsky
Buy the solid bars of Mexican or South American chocolate for this hot chocolate. A bit of crushed red pepper flakes or black peppers adds pizzazz.