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Chocolate
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Redolent of everything sensual and hedonistic, chocolate is synonymous with our idea of indulgence. It is adored around the world and has been since the Spanish first encountered cocoa beans in South America in the sixteenth century. It is seen as magical, exotic, addictive and powerful beyond anything that can be explained by its ingredients, and in "Chocolate" Sarah Moss and Alexander Badenoch explore the origins and growth of this almost universal obsession. Moss and Badenoch recount the history of chocolate, which from ancient times has been associated with sexuality, sin, blood and sacrifice. The first Spanish accounts claim that the Aztecs and Mayans used chocolate as a substitute for blood in sacrificial rituals and as a currency to replace gold. In 1753, Linnaeus gave the cocoa tree the official classification Theobroma cacao, or the food of the gods. In the eighteenth century, chocolate became regarded as an aphrodisiac the first step on the road to today's boxes of Valentine delights. "Chocolate" also looks at the production of chocolate, from artisanal chocolatiers to the brands such as Hershey's, Lindt and Cadbury that dominate our supermarket shelves, and explores its associations with slavery and globalization. Packed with tempting images and decadent descriptions of chocolate throughout the ages, "Chocolate" will be as irresistible as the tasty treats it describes.
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About the Author

Sarah Moss is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK. She has written widely on the literature and culture of food. Alexander Badenoch is an Instructor in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands, and is the author of Voices in Ruins: West German Radio Across the 1945 Divide (2008).

Reviews

The politics of cocoa - chocolate's key ingredient - are fascinating. For centuries African and Central American farmers made it for the paler races to devour. And how did Westerners thank them? With some of the most eye-bogglingly racist advertising in history. Hopefully, paying the current farmers Fair Trade prices will make amends. Diplomat magazine The Edible series contains some of the most delicious nuggets of food and drink history ever. Every volume is such a fascinating and succinct read that I had to devour each in just a single sitting ... food writing at its best! -- Ken Hom, chef and author

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