“I have seen them/ transformed by delicious alchemy/ into brown slabs, / ambrosial ingots/ wrapped in gold…”
–Divine, by Gaia Holmes
The gorgeous language in this poem effectively captures an unforgettable experience with chocolate: magical, whimsical, and extravagant. Mixed with piping hot milk, baked into cakes, shaved into ribbons, or melted over ice cream, chocolate is a food of decadence and indulgence, and has a truly rich history.
The cacao bean, the main ingredient in chocolate, has been roasted and fermented by the Mayans and drank in a hot beverage with chilies, vanilla, and other spices by Aztec nobles (Smith and Presilla para.1). From there, the Swiss invented milk chocolate, and the Dutch created chocolate in the form of bars (Terrio 10). Chocolate not only has an interesting history; it also has some health benefits- the dark varieties contain a high amount of flavoniods that provide antioxidants.
Chocolate is not only used in desserts, special drinks, and candies. It is a beautiful product that should be looked at as an artistic medium. In fact, chocolate is often seen as an emblem of luxury, spectacle, artistic tradition, and culinary refinement (Terrio 3).
France, in particular, is a location in which artisanal chocolate production truly reaches its greatest. However, it was only recently that France has been acknowledged for its luxurious chocolate– namely southwest France, which is considered a regional centre for chocolate production (Terrio 2,10). An especially noteworthy tradition in France is the Festival de L’Art Gourmand, where artisans craft necklaces, earrings, rings, bouquets, corsets, and paintings– all out of chocolate (Terrio 3,4).
Credit: via crookedbrains.net
Let’s shift our focus to New York City. For the past fifteen years, sixty-five various chocolate companies have come together for the annual Chocolate Show in New York, which presents a great array of chocolate-inspired creations. A fashion show at this event effectively combines high fashion with chocolate and is brilliantly organized by a team of fashion designers, chocolatiers, and pastry chefs.
Dress: Designed by Martin Howard
Credit: via crookedbrains.net
For the fifteenth anniversary this year, chocolatiers will design fifteen giant chocolate hearts, representative of a growing passion for chocolate. Also offered are classes about pairing wine with chocolate. Please take time to visit www.chocolateshow.com.
We have seen a great deal of fashion and chocolate. However, I would like to see more poetry and chocolate. Perhaps an event- a poetry reading. A coffee shop, late evening. All chocolate-themed poetry. It would be different to say the least. Any thoughts?
Smith, Andrew F., Presilla, Maricel. “Chocolate.” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Ed. Gordon Campbell. Oxford University Press, 2003. University of Windsor. 27 May 2012 <http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/ ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t170.e0169.s0001>
Terrio, Susan Jane. Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate. California: University of California Press, 2000. Web.