Hello, my name is Mojca and I’m a chocoholic. As far as I can tell, I’ve lived with this condition all my life (it probably started when I was still an embryo) and the medical professionals assure me that there is currently no cure for it. So far I haven’t responded to treatment and the doctors fear I might die before the drug is made available (I really have it bad). I’m putting on a brave face for my friends and family, but I’ll give it to you straight: it’s tough to be a chocolate addict, especially during the holiday season. The stuff is EVERYWHERE!
Photo source: http://wall.alphacoders.com/big.php?i=43356&lang=Italian
I’m not ashamed to admit that if I had to choose between a man and exquisite dark chocolate with creamy filling, I’d go for the latter (except if the man in question was James McAvoy – the Eye Candy Supreme). Look at it this way, chocolate is not moody or emotionally unavailable, it doesn’t have trust issues and it won’t sleep with your best friend. Personally, I wouldn’t trust people who don’t like chocolate. I mean, what kind of freaks are they? Who knows what else they might be hiding? One can never be too careful.
Chocolate can be many things, among them, a great comforter. I realize this makes me sound like the girl who got stood up on every date she ever went to (well, does it really matter?), but I will concede that guys are the leading cause for chocolate overconsumption, which is why all girls prone to overactive weight gain (btw grandma, thanks for that) have to switch to dark chocolate eventually. Not to mention, dark chocolate is rich in anti-oxidants, which is supposed to be a very good thing, even though I forgot why. The only problem is that you tend to eat more of it and so annihilate the main benefits (namely, keeping your dress size in the domain of the acceptable).
When I was younger and still had some self-control, I went off chocolate for 18 months. I would ask you not to try this at home. The experiment was not designed to encourage a sanity-free existence. Don’t ask me how I did it, those were the dark ages of my eating habits. For goodness sake, I even ate what looked (and, more to the point, tasted) like mould bread for breakfast. Fortunately, I got over it. I will only say this, toward the end I was exhibiting signs of mental instability. I often caught myself staring lecherously at posters of Kinder bars. I was stripping those foil wrappers with my eyes. I wanted to take them to bed with me and devour them (with the tin foil on) – not my proudest moment.
Instead of divulging teenage secrets that make the twenty-three-year-old me hate the sixteen-year-old me, I will offer a short historical overview of how chocolate came into being. If we go back to the beginnings of cocoa consumption, we will come across the Aztecs. Even though they weren’t the ones to discover the culinary versatility of cocoa beans (some other Mesoamerican tribe had that honour), they were the ones that made it hip to drink xocolātl (the fancy Nahuatl word that stood for “bitter water” because the original concoction tasted like bitter water. How can something so bad sound so good? It’s a good thing we don’t have to concern ourselves with semiotics.).
Now, to get back to facts, let us say the Aztecs were an “interesting” civilisation. It seems that the abundant supplies of bitter water didn’t in any way slake their thirst for blood and they are credited with bringing human sacrifice to a whole new level of cruelty. Also, they were more attached to the class system than even the producers of British period drama. One sure wonders what other ingredients were in that xocolātl to make them so “bitter”. Despite the unhealthy inclination to torture innocent people (particularly, virgins and young children), I’m sure they were nice people when you got to know them.
In any case, this is something we will never know, because the Spanish “Scourge of God”, otherwise known as Hernan Cortes, wiped out the entire civilisation and took the cocoa drink to Spain. Apparently, the fine palate of the European Latino was not accustomed to gourmand cuisine and they even said the drink was only “fit for pigs”. The audacity! After a great deal of experimenting, some bright chap added sugar cane to the mix and the rest, as we all know, is history.
Photo source: http://mexicotoday.org/es/Mexico?page=13
All the people (past, present and future) responsible for bringing chocolate to the masses did the humankind a great service. Honestly, if it weren’t for chocolate, I have no idea what I would be giving people for their birthdays and for all the numerous occasions when you’re required to provide a gift. This said, I like to be on the receiving end of chocolate as well. I once remember getting a box of Belgian pralines. Even the box was classy. I swear I have never tasted anything that good. My taste buds were vibrating with pleasure. Out of respect for the lingering sweetness in my mouth, I didn’t eat dinner that day. I went to bed hungry, but it was worth it. I would do it again, if I had to.
Chocolate is not supposed to be seen, but tasted. Therefore, next time you eat it, don’t just gobble it down as if it were a corn hotdog that you bought at a cattle fair. You let it melt slowly in your mouth in order to relish the cocoa goodness brought to you by your candy distributor. Treat it with respect. As I’ve already pointed out, chocolate has healing powers. It wards off sadness (remember the Dementors?), cures anxiety and makes people happy. Vive le chocolat!
If you want to know more about the history of chocolate, follow this link (personally, I would opt for degustation, but apparently “we” want different things): http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/brief-history-of-chocolate.html?c=y&page=2