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Food of the Gods

叶霖耘Lerra Ye 2017-03-04 09:45

Ancient Dark Ambrosia

Thousands of years ago, the people of a Mesoamerican clan were preparing for an upcoming ritual. They laid roasted cacao beans on a grinding mortar 'metate' to crush them into a paste, then mixed it with water, thickened the mixture with cornmeal and seasoned it with chili peppers. They could have also added nuts of sapotil- las and honey to the recipe. Some vases reveal that

a technique akin to the Malaysian Teh tarik was applied as well - the Mayans pour chocolate from one vessel to another to develop a thick froth on top.

Believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac, one mere sip of this ultimate bitterness spiced with a hint of acridity was said to spark the res of passion and vigor. For the record, one Spanish associate
of Hernán Cortés wrote that the liquid was so powerful that whoever drank a cup of it could walk for a whole day without eating anything else.

This is what the earliest chocolate was like. The Mayans called it‘xocol tl’, which means bitter water.


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Chocodotes

In addition to a bygone royal tribute, chocolate has more secrets yet to be discovered.

Cacao beans used to be so valuable that it was once circulated as a kind of bartering currency. As an example, a rabbit could be traded for 4 cocoa beans while a hundred were needed to purchase a slave. When the deal was set, the seller would rub the beans to check if they were counterfeit money with bean hulls padded of soil or not. Hence the xocol tl was literally the ‘liquid gold’ at that time.

In the program Chocolate Perfection, British Michelin chef Michel Roux Jr did try a sip of the authentic Aztec chocolate drink. He gave a bizarre look and commented it as ‘Very hot...My god. I can imagine after a drink of this, you’d face the world.No enemy would be strong enough.’

The Latin name for the cocoa tree is Theobroma Cacao, which means ‘Food of the Gods’. Some chocolate made from the fermented and roasted beans may enter a bitter range with deep intensity more avorful than wine.


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Amor Chocolate

There aren’t many who can really tell us how the correlation be- tween a stimulant beverage stronger than coffee and romance developed. Thanks to the taste acquired by the conquistadors and subsequently Europeans back in their homeland, chocolate has now earned its worldwide fanaticism. But as for its subtle associations with love, it might as well acknowledge the popularization of the Japanese fashion ‘sending chocolate is an expression of love’, though not so romantically promoted by a successive series of campaigns launched by the Japanese merchandisers. As for chocolate itself, it has long been driven into an ambiguous imagination associated with aphrodisiac efficacy.

In the renowned lm Chocolate, a housewife within a dim relationship received a satchel of cacao nibs from the new chocolatier in town - Vianne. Though she never expected those nibs to be effectual as the so-called‘love chemical’, but she was de nitely overjoyed with the outcome, so she returned to the shop for more. That mysterious chocolatier was then revealed to be a mysterious descendant of the Mayans.


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Despite certain exaggerated drama commonly spotted in lms, cacao beans have been long believed by the Mesoamericans to be a powerful aphrodisiac. It’s said to be one of the most valuable things in the Aztec civilization. And the Aztec ruler Moctezuma consumed spiced cacao drink in a sum up to 50 cups per day, especially when he planned to visit his harem. Quite over the top this will sound to us, but it could be the earliest record of chocolate being linked up with love and passion.

Though signi cant changes were done to the chocolate after the cacao beans were taken back to Europe in the 17th century, the royal courts were convinced that the exotic drink has a miraculous love power. Madame du Barry, Louis XVI’s last mistress, is said to promote lighter yet still avourful French dishes to avoid the stupor that normally comes along after heartier fare. She did, however, insist on the servant bringing her a morning cup of chocolate after she got up every day.


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In the 17th century, chocolate was commonly thought to be a powerfu aphrodisiac, in aming lustful passion. So much so that religious leaders banned monks and nuns from ingesting it. It was not until the 19th century when chocolate took its gorgeous turn into a portable solid form that dessert fanatics all over the world could nally share a fair chance to enjoy this sweetness monopolized by the wealthiest for ages. Despite misgivings about chocolate’s “corrupting” in uence on purity, its unique sweet and bitter avour won over people’s hearts and tastebuds.


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Some would state that it is a sin reveling in the comfort and addiction that chocolate brings along cause it’s so dif cult for anyone to reject. But if anyone’s sure to keep his cool judging to take a bite or not, nothing may ever seem to appeal to him, not even heaven or hell.


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