January 24, 2020

Beer froths into one type of mousse...not the point of this post. "Brasserie" [Brewery], engraved by Robert Benard, in Receuil de Planches, "Brasserie," Plate II, 1763.

If you were royalty, you’d worry about being poisoned. If you believed you were a divine incarnation,...

December 20, 2019

Over the past two months, we have explored chocolate consumption before 1820, when preindustrial science made producing anything solid with cacao very difficult. Once broken, shelled, roasted, and ground into a paste, the cacao bean’s structure acts according to its com...

November 22, 2019

This post asks the question, why don’t Dr. Frankenstein or Count Dracula drink chocolate?

Let’s get this out of the way: Franken Berry and Count Chocula hit the shelves in 1971. While Chocula may have inspired this inquiry, he does not figure into our story.

First, an inv...

November 1, 2019

Roundabout Halloween the sale of chocolate candy in the US soars. No one will give tricks. Children will reportedly net several pounds of treats per (pumpkin) head on their routes. That amount of sugary chocolate sets off alarms: for parents they sound panic, while for...

March 15, 2019

Yes, American Chocolate Week lasts seven days, March 17-23, 2019. But is it really about America? Or chocolate? It depends on your perspective.

1) 'American' at its etymological root would refer to whatever Amerigo Vespucci was snacking on in Florence circa 1492, which c...

February 21, 2019

William Hogarth, A Rake's Progress, Plate 6, The Gaming House, or White's Chocolate House, 1733

From fall 2010 to late summer 2011, Jonathan Swift fulfilled a long-standing commission of chocolate for Stella (Esther Johnson) at the request of her companion, Rebecca Ding...

February 14, 2019

Among other woes once the Glorious Revolution ended in a Declaration of Rights that imposed permanent Protestant rule over England and penal law on Ireland, Dubliners had a hard time procuring chocolate. We know this because Jonathan Swift spent many hours of his life i...

February 7, 2019

Pall Mall, St. James's Square and St. James's Street, c. 1833

If the aroma of coffee wafted circa 1650 from St. Michael's Cornhill to Fleet Street, the sites of London's first cafés, it was on the Mall in St. James's that chocolate found its public. Not one but several e...

January 16, 2019

Cacao trees fall into a special category of flowering plant: cauliflory. While most plants produce their blooms on new growth from the main stem or trunk (conventional inflorescence, or positioning), cacao's flowers and fruits grow directly from their woody trunks. Bota...

January 1, 2019

Turning over a new leaf. Gold leaf.

Chocolate Set on a Stand

2 feet/60cm high

Meissen, 1715-30

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