Honors | Chocolate: Food of the Gods (COLL)
S104 | 25265 | Anya Royce

TuTh 11:15am-12:30pm

Cacao (Theobroma cacao), whose name means “food of the gods,”
enjoyed a long history in the great civilizations of Mesoamerica,
immortalized in art and iconography, and traded as a luxury good,
long before it became the New World’s gift to the Old. Europeans
quickly became as captivated by it as the Maya and Aztec,
introducing the custom of chocolate parties, drinking chocolate in
place of daily tea, and consuming it in the form of bars, pastilles,
as ices, and as an ingredient in main dishes and desserts.  It moved
from a luxury item consumed by the aristocracy to the masses in the
solid forms created by Van Houten, Lindt, Cadbury, and Hershey.
Now, it has once again become a “luxury” item in the form of
designer chocolate and Fair Trade chocolate while it remains one of
the most popular “food groups” with the continued and expanded
production and consumption of Hershey bars, Cadbury biscuits, and
hundreds of other confections.
Some of the topics in this seminar will include the history of
chocolate, its production and marketing, its appearance in
literature and art, the psychopharmacology of chocolate, the social
life of chocolate, its preparation, the romantic and erotic aspects
of chocolate, the great chocolate producers (Hershey’s, Cadbury’s,
Lindt), the fine art of chocolate (luxury chocolate producers), Fair
Trade chocolate, and by-products of chocolate such as cocoa butter
and cocoa mulch.

Students will be able to choose independent projects according to
their interests, including hands-on activities with local producers,
vendors, and preparers of chocolate. This will be an intensive
writing seminar with weekly response papers to readings, films, and
other activities (2 pages), an independent research paper (15 to 20
pages, an outline of which will be due at the end of the fourth
week, and a draft two weeks before the final due date), and a final
essay, in lieu of an examination, that speaks to what they have
learned over the course of the semester (5 pages). The students will
be invited to share their research in discussions with the seminar
over the last three weeks of the class.