Freedom and Chocolate

March 28, 2018

Traditions can be spiritual or secular. They can relate to families, communities, or nations. But few things bind humanity together across time and distance as much as a shared love of chocolate. This Easter, there is an abundance of tradition to celebrate with friends and family, including the very Aussie tradition of camping in the mud. As long as some of that is mud cake, we are on board. 

We must honour the Mayan Civilisation for being the first to discover and revere the cocoa bean. According to anthropologists, The Maya grew cocoa beans and traded them as a currency. In a recent local market update, Luke Elwin of our office revealed that the median home price in town is now almost $1.5 Million – that is a lot of chocolate in the old currency.

Columbus is said to have first brought chocolate to Europeans, but it wasn’t received with the fanfare and decorated elephants it deserved – it seems the early Europeans were distracted by the gold he had on board. Fools.

A Spanish Conquistador named Cortes, after being confused for a God by the Maya, returned from his quest with a better regard for chocolate. He proclaimed it to be a ‘divine drink’ and the Spanish royals enjoyed the drink, believing it to have great medicinal powers – which it does, by the way.

Chocolate was all very sensible shoes and ‘healthy’ until Spanish Princess Marie Therese married Louis XIV, and chocolate was soon adopted as one of the many symbols of excess and luxury by the French court at Versailles. That and all of the gold curly furniture. The court were pretty greedy with the chocolate, who believed that its healing properties were more of a Marvin Gaye kind of healing.

Like other aphrodisiacs, powders and potions of Versailles – chocolate was taxed up the wahzoo so that it remained in the hands of the upper classes. Then “Viva La Revolution” and it was Napoleon’s wife, Josephine, who pressured the emperor to remove the tax on chocolate because chocolate, aphrodisiacs and freedom should be available to everyone.

Happy Easter, hunny bunnies.

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