Non-Fiction

Review: The True History Of Chocolate by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe.

Review: The True History Of Chocolate by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe.

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With Easter coming up, and religious considerations aside, our minds are turning to one thing. Chocolate. Whether or not you are buying an Easter egg, it is impossible to escape those cravings. But how much do you really know about the origins of chocolate? 

The True History Of Chocolate begins with the fact that most of what we think we know about chocolate is an ‘accepted fiction’ – something which is so widely believed that it is accepted as fact. Added to that, many people’s true knowledge dates back only to Christopher Columbus and his invasion of Mexico. 

Beginning with botany, and the history of the plants from which the cocoa bean is cultivated, the book explains how cacao pods are harvested from the cacao tree before the cocoa butter is extracted. This explanation of the science was useful because we trace the growth of the tree across the centuries and learn how different societies processed the cocoa butter.

Given that knowledge of chocolate in early civilizations is limited, a decent portion of the book covered what is known about its role in societies prior to Columbus’s invasion of America. Every society in the book is introduced and the evidence that chocolate was processed is explored. 

Later sections cover chocolate in recent history, and how it went from being an aristocratic parlour drink to a solid product available to the masses. 

The book manages to be both readable and informative. It covers different periods of history and wide geography with ease, linking them all to a single plant and the way it has been processed into different forms of chocolate. If you are looking to expand your non-fiction intake, this popular subject is a brilliant way to start.

 

Published by Thames and Hudson. Thanks for my gifted copy. All opinions my own. 

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