My Chocolate Lover
I started writing this article two years ago… when the notion of “healthy chocolate” was dangled before me. What a great idea! The trouble was most confectionery given to celebrate Valentine’s Day in heart month is, technically, not good for the heart. Of course, there are studies in the thousands that report “dark chocolate” is good for the heart, but disclaimers are quick to follow. And the words “in moderation” are the last thing you want to think of during the month of amore!
LOVE … You could claim it started with Adam & Eve, or the thumping of a caveman’s club over the head of his woman, but we’re wondering when passionate, romantic love entered into the human emotional character.
It has to be the introduction of the Latin lover, with his golden skin, dark bedroom eyes, accented pronunciations of words that are irrelevant but sound good in the moment. It’s in his blood, an innate passion that is irresistible. Just the mere thought of such love has women gasp, fantasies dancing in their minds, conjuring a smile and the slight trembling of inner thighs.
The mere idea of the maestro’s touch that turns women into quivering puddles has only one substitute – chocolate.
For many women, the love of their life is chocolate, replacing physical pleasures with psychological hormonal euphoria when there is little or no libido function. For some, the lover and chocolate are interchangeable, and often a deeper, more faithful and meaningful relationship is found with the latter.
Although Christopher Columbus was purported to be the one that brought the cocoa bean to Europe in 1502, in fact, Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes discovered its true value in 1519 when taught how to convert the bean into a wonderful chocolate drink. "Chocolate is the divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits man to walk for a whole day without food," he was quoted to say, after Aztec Emperor Montezuma taught him how to turn the bean into a beloved beverage, reportedly consuming nearly 50 golden goblets a day of the divine nectar.
Seldom discussed is the fact that Montezuma had 600 wives. If a single cup was all you needed to walk a day without food, then we need to ask … did Montezuma need the additional 49 cups in order to keep his wives happy? That would make him the world’s first chocolate-fueled Latin lover.
For the next 100 years, drinking chocolate was the Spaniards’ secret … until it went to France. At first considered barbaric, it gained medical approval in Paris, and was elevated in social circles in 1615 when Queen Anne of Austria declared chocolat as “The drink of the French Court.” By the turn of the 17th century, chocolate had made its way into Italy, England and eventually the Americas.
Although 65 years earlier Pope Pius V declared that drinking chocolate did not break fast, in 1624 a theologian issued a written declaration condemning the drinking of chocolate in convents as it was ‘warming up’ spirits and passions.
French botanist and chemist Louis Lemery (1677–1743) said regarding chocolate in his treatise on food in 1702, “…its stimulant properties are calculated to excite the passions of Venus.” The 17th and 18th centuries were conducive to high consumption levels of chocolate. Most artwork of the period shows couples sipping hot chocolate. It was in great vogue and, for the time, it was among the foods considered conducive to love games, libertine sexuality and lifestyles.
The most celebrated lover, even by today’s standards, came in the form of Giovanni Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798).
It is said he consumed chocolate before each conquest. Latin legends, both fiction and fact, were born in the era of drinking chocolate. Casanova, much likened to the fictional styling of Spanish folklore’s Don Juan, was known to be promiscuous and an unscrupulous lover.
The chocolate aphrodisiac facts and properties of sipping chocolate were favoured by the Latin lover and savoured by all, as the fairer sex also knew of its seductive qualities during that great period of courtesans and mistresses. Chocolate is an equal opportunist as Marquise de Pompadour (1721–1764) and Comtesse DuBarry (1743–1793), both mistresses of Louise XV, were also known for serving a good cup of frothy chocolate to their lovers.
If playful flirtation and seduction were the ways of the 17th and 18th centuries, why did the industrial revolution conservatism of the 19th century strip away those customs, only to romanticize them again in the 20th century, and now return to heralding its healthy medicinal attributes in the 21st century?
Casanova must have known the divine drink’s powers. After all, during his teen years at University, he studied philosophy, chemistry, mathematics, and showed a keen interest in medicine, frequently prescribing treatments for himself and friends. He would have known of chocolate’s proponents as a medico-culinary wonderment that was compounded not only as a drug, but equally as an aphrodisiac.
Chocolate takes charge of seduction. Its anticipation is half the fun. For as much as chocolate is playful and spontaneous, it is also a disciplinarian, as its medicinal “good for you” nature has a way of commanding the attention of all your senses. Whether by sight, smell, touch or taste, nothing can catapult you sensually from whatever you are doing more effectively than a piece of chocolate, tantalizing your taste buds while caressing your soul. Swallow and then focus as it ventures its way through your body, tempting and yet healing every cell within you. Amazingly, other thoughts are pushed out of your mind as chocolate reigns supreme.
Although the commercialization of chocolate during the 19th and 20th centuries has tamed its primal nature, the romance can still be found today in the artisanal, hand-crafted dark chocolates and bite-sized pieces of Chocolatiers and master bakers who have harnessed the same healthy, healing qualities of chocolates that fueled the greatest lovers of bygone eras.
If you are in pursuit of pleasure, and have a great lust for food, don’t purchase a commercial box of chocolates from your local grocer or convenience store. Seek out the most decadent Chocolatier in your area, or visit ShowTimeChocolate.com/AfterDark for a few online considerations.