Monday, February 11, 2013

Another Look at a Timeless Pleasure

Through the centuries chocolate has evolved from the original cacao bean to a richly decorated delectable. Nonetheless, its high value has remained consistent. Thankfully Ann Arbor is well equipped to offer this divine and versatile treat.

Food of the Gods

The indigenous populations of Mexico and Central America are the first people to discover the multiple uses of the cacao bean. Authors Sophie and Michael Coe of The True History of Chocolate reveal the use of cacao existed since the time of the Olmecs, the first civilization in Mexico from approximately 1500 B.C.E.  In 2008, the University of Pennsylvania discovered chocolate residue on excavated Honduran pottery from around 1400 B.C.E.

These ancient people believed cacao beans to have divine, magical powers. They valued them for their ability to bring great joy to their people and used it for beverages, in sacred rituals: birth, marriage, and death, and as a form of currency. 

The Spanish conquistadors are responsible for mixing cacao with honey and cane sugar, thus transforming cacao into a sweet chocolate beverage reserved for the privileged. During this time, Spaniards used chocolate for medicine, nutrition, as well as an aphrodisiac.  

After the invention of the steam engine, mass production made chocolate more available. People’s creativity transformed chocolate from its liquid to solid forms such as powders, bars, and truffles.

Ann Arbor Chocolatiers Take on a Chocolate Revolution

There is an increasing interest in making specialty—hand-made and higher quality—chocolates. Ann Arbor chocolatiers are undergoing a chocolate revolution to recreate this wondrous “food of the gods” that, in moderation, has the ability to lower blood pressure, act as an antioxidant, and elevate you into a divine experience. 

You can find specialty chocolates at these Ann Arbor Chocolatiers:

Downtown Ann Arbor,

107 E. Liberty St. Ann Arbor 48104

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
521 E. Liberty Ann Arbor 48104

110 E. Washington St. Ann Arbor 48104

Ann Arbor East-side,

Sweet Gem Confections (located inside Morgan and York)
1928 Packard Rd Ann Arbor 48104

Ann Arbor West-side,

Great Lakes Chocolate & Coffee Co.
2981 Jackson Ave Ann Arbor 48103

Image by Laura Blodgett | For

See’s Candies (located inside Plum Market)
375 N Maple Rd Ann Arbor 48103

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