The True History Of Chocolate Book Review

The daffodils are out, the clocks have gone forward and the sound of lawnmowers can be heard up and down the country. This can mean only one thing… spring has sprung!

And what’s the best thing about Spring? Easter eggs that’s what!

As an out and proud chocoholic I blinking love Easter. I mean when else can you get away with eating chocolate morning, noon and night. And is it just me, but does chocolate somehow taste better when it’s egg shaped?

Most of us know that chocolate comes from cocoa beans, but have you ever stopped and thought about where chocolate originated from, where its story first began? You might think you’ve got chocolate sussed, but there’s more to this silky smooth deliciousness than meets the eye (or the tongue for that matter) and the book The True History Of Chocolate by husband and wife authors Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe takes a journey back in time to tell us all about it.

From its early roots in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica right through to the food we know and love today, chocolate is deeply embedded in our culture. It is the food of romance, the deep, dark and mysterious food of luxury. It is nostalgic, emotive, sexy, yet also gluttonous and secretive, a food we often feel guilty about consuming. What other food is there that has so many different feelings attached to it? None that I can think of, that’s for sure.

Just like chocolate the authors of this book have their own romantic story. Research for the book was started by Sophie, an anthropologist and food historian with a love for all things food and drink. However, halfway through her research she was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, from which she died not long after. Her husband Michael, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Curator Emeritus in the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, took over her work and completed the book in front of us today. Some might say a tale as rich and romantic as chocolate itself.

Chocolate has long been referred as ‘the food of the Gods’, perhaps because of its early association with the ancient civilizations of the Mayans and Aztecs and although this book touches on that, its main focus is on chocolate’s journey to Europe and its transformation into a food for the masses come the 19th century. It then explores how modern neuroscientists have been experimenting with how flavours are perceived by the human brain and how eating chocolate can make us feel – it would certainly help explain the concept of cravings.  The book ends by looking at the ethical side of the chocolate industry today.

Incredibly academic in its tone, this book isn’t exactly your average light read, but it does contain illustrations for those of us who work better with pictorial information. If historical food books float your boat, then this is definitely the book for you. But if you prefer reading those little flavour menus you get in boxes of chocolates, then perhaps you’re better off giving it a miss for now.

The True History Of Chocolate by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe. is published by Thames & Hudson and is available to buy from Amazon for £9.99

*product gifted for review

Have you seen my recipe for chocolate Easter Nest Flapjacks?

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