COLL-E 104 12238 Chocolate: Food of the Gods (Royce) (S&H) (3 cr.)

9:30 AM – 10:45 AM TR

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 give to the Old. Europeans quickly became as captivated by it as the Maya and the 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. Nos, 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 class 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.