Chocolate: A Sweet & Bitter Tale

Explore the social history of chocolate from its pre-Columbian origins to the Hershey’s bar
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1 hour and 15 minutes
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Lecture Description
In this overview of the world’s favorite flavor, culinary historian Michael Krondl explores the social history of chocolate from its pre-Columbian origins to the Hershey’s bar. The session touches on all the subjects forbidden in polite conversation: sex, religion, and money.
Meet Your Expert

Author Michael Krondl writes about food and history. He has penned several books, including The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spices and Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert among others. He has edited and contributed to several Oxford University Press volumes on food and culture, including The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. He teaches at the New School and the City University of New York and has lectured at multiple venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, and San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

Chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac and continues to be a favorite Valentine’s Day gift; it was long forbidden to priests for this very reason though that didn’t seem to stop Quaker industrialists from making a fortune from it; it was once, quite literally currency while today it is mired in controversy due to exploitative labor practices. It is indeed a fascinating if sweet and bitter tale. Join your expert, and esteemed culinary historian, Michael Krondl, as you embark on a delectable journey sure to open your eyes to the hidden history of the world's favorite sweet: chocolate.
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(5.0) 3 Reviews

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This was a very comprehensive look at a favorite treat, chocolate. From how and where the cacao plant grows clear through to the current geopolitical aspects of its production, this seminar was so enlightening. Loved the history and variations created over the centuries also. Most interesting was the story of chocolate as it evolved in America in foods, drinks, cereal, candy. Speaker even discussed its ingestion by children vs adults (with distinction between men and women, who knew?). The closure brought up the issues regarding cacao production in Africa (mainly) and use of child labor using dangerous instruments (e.g., machetes). I learned a lot and will re-watch to ensure I remember more.
I probably didn't read the description, just thought it was about yummy chocolate (for a foodie). But Michael presented a fascinating social history of chocolate, gave me a lot to think about. Great presentation
Most worthwhile seminar with both the light and the dark (excuse the pun) sides. So interesting about Mars bars and their "lack" of chocolate...and the women who helped make chocolate a normal item in home baking.