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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Ted counts beans

Cacao (cocoa) beans that is .. the little gems that give life to chocolate, the world’s favourite confectionery. We love it so much we spend more than 20 billion dollars every year on chocolate and chocolate products.  The Mayans and the Aztecs had it all pretty much to themselves for a long time. In fact, they considered the beans so valuable that they used them as a currency. Naturally as long as there has been currency there have been counterfeits, and their's were made of terracotta.

Christopher Columbus and then the Spanish Conquistadors whisked the beans back to Spain where they proceeded to make “xocolatl” (bitter water) in the Aztec fashion. They sweetened it up with honey and a few herbs and introduced it into the Austrian royal courts in the early 17th century, where it gained immediate favour, and within 100 years it was widespread throughout Europe.

From that time to this chocolate has seduced human kind and been accorded fabulous powers – it has the ability to make us feel good, fight tooth decay, help prevent heart attacks,  increase IQs, why it even acts as an aphrodisiac apparently.  However, supposedly this only really applies to the 70% cacao plus level of dark chocolate, and not the sugar laden impersonators that inhabit our supermarket shelves.  Sadly "white" chocolate, like common sense, just “isn’t”.

So it was with high hopes of a sensory experience that I headed off to the London chocolate festival, where the purveyors of all things that you can make from chocolate (and quite a number you can’t) were gathered to let us experience and purchase their wares.

I started with a choux pastry filled with chocolate praline crème, accompanied by a Bailey’s Belgium chocolate liqueur. After a few moments of over excitement I calmed down and took in the surroundings.  There were chocolate stalls with chocolates goodies in all shapes and sizes from all over, chocolate baubles for the Christmas tree, chocolate making and tasting classes, and even chocolate art. As if that wasn’t enough there was a Christmas market filled with things that any good chocoholic should have like chocolate moulds, fondue pots, and knives for cutting chocolate. Phew ... Oh I almost forgot to add, chocolate also has life-saving powers. Well it did for Milton Hershey anyway when he had to cancel his trip on the Titanic due to chocolate related business … 

5 comments:

Adullamite said...

I wanna be there.....

Sharon Anck said...

I'm wondering if when you walked in the room, the scent of chocolate was amazing to smell. I can just imagine. Sounds like a wonderful event.

William Kendall said...

Milton Hershey was lucky!

There was a fellow here in the railroad business who had been buying luxury furnishings in Europe for his new hotel. He happened to ship his purchases and himself on board the Titanic. The furniture's no doubt still in the cargo holds.

Jane Hards Photography said...

That would be chocolate heaven for a few of my chocoholic friends You always find something a little different for your blog

(try this link, Gary is still producing those political cartoons http://times.newsprints.co.uk/search/scu/p/u/214474/1/gary%20barker%20cartoons

Jack said...

Ted, your food knowledge is remarkable! There is a career for you in the food industry.

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