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HAY: A brief history of chocolate

Please accept my essay entitled, “A Brief History of Chocolate” (below) as my entrance submission to your proposed Bachelor’s Degree in Chocolate Studies program. I believe institutions of higher learning have long been remiss in failing to offer an undergraduate degree in chocolate and since I’m thinking about chocolate right now on account of it’s Easter and I’m fully expecting to receive a hollow (not solid!) chocolate Bunny this year, I decided to dip my toe in the chocolate fountain. (So to speak…)

The history of chocolate is quite fascinating and historical. According to many important sources on my internet, chocolate is made from the fruit of cacao trees which I believe are found in Central and South America and many tree museums around the world. The fruits are called pods, not to be confused with iPods or those large pods with human clones in them from that movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

Around about the year 1500 B.C. just after U.S. President Joe Biden was born some American Indigenous folks were apparently stuffing cacao pods into earth pots in a ceremonial ritual I like to refer to as “Pressing Pods in Pots”. We chocolate aficionados know this because the internet said archeologists have found traces of “theobromine” in ancient broken pots and as everybody knows, theobromine is not only a stimulant compound found in chocolate and tea but (I’m guessing here) it’s what makes those hollow (not solid!) chocolate Easter bunnies taste so yummy.

Soon in history the Mayans got a hold of chocolate and added peanuts and created the Oh Henry and then the Aztecs took chocolate “to another level” – in fact, to “outer space” by inventing the Mars bar. My exhaustive research reveals that the mighty Aztec ruler Montezuma II was perhaps the most notorious chocolate lover of all time on account of he drank “gallons” of chocolate every day as a means for energy and as an aphrodisiac. It is my assumption that this practice also originated the term “Montezuma’s Revenge”. He also had 127 children. (Kidding.)

In an important historical event, Christopher Columbus himself brought beans back to Spain and when Mrs. Columbus tried to make chili con carne with the beans she discovered they were chocolate beans and ended up with hot chocolate and toast for supper. This became all the rage and spread all over Europe like a plague, and many people found it much better to have a plague of chocolate rather than a plague of cholera.

A couple of generations passed historically and then the Dutch people got a hold of cacao beans and mixed them with salt and snails and puppy dog tails (history is vague on the exact details) and came up with chocolate powder they called “cocoa” or “Nestle’s Quik”. And then the Swiss got tired of making expensive watches for a while and got a hold of the cocoa powder and invented a “conch machine” which mixes and scrapes chocolate powder somehow and creates very smooth tasty chocolate and also confuses everyone because the word “conch” usually means “the shell of a snail.”

In fact, it was Swissman Rololphe Lindt who invented the chocolate conch and also those over-priced under-sized golden-wrapped Easter bunnies that you can find to this very day.

There are many other historical events happening historically when it comes to chocolate, but my essay is entitled The Brief History so, in conclusion, chocolate is very important especially at this time of year, because otherwise we’d have to eat hard-boiled eggs at Easter.

Thank you for your consideration, and I’ve enclosed a couple of Cadbury Crème Eggs for your enjoyment as you mark my essay.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. Send him a column idea to harleyhay1@hotmail.com.

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