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Chocolates by Debanjana Kundu

I eat, drink, breathe chocolates and am sure many are like me… absolutely crazy about it. For me it is ‘chocolates everyday keep doctors away’. As a matter of fact, I have come to realize in the last couple of months that it also acts as the best incentive!
Chocolates as we know it today was introduced to us by John Cadbury only two centuries back, even though the Mokaya people loved their cacao beverages in 1900 BC. The Aztecs developed a range of chocolate cuisine that’s been handed down the generations and we see the Mexican doing it even today.
The Mayans preferred the spicy chocolate drinks where they mixed chilli pepper and cornmal with the ground cacao seeds. Both these ancient civilizations considered drinking chocolate as a sacred brew and it was used only for religious and royal events.
It was with the Spanish conquest of the Aztec that Eurpe got introduced to this wonder beverage. However, all this was bitter chocolate. It was the Industrial Revolution that brought into our lives the sweet candy. The Dutch process of treating chocolate with alkali was done for the first time by van Houten and this helped remove the bitter taste!
Lindt, Nestle, Cadbury and Hershey are the biggest competitors in the international market today, but it was a joint effort of them all to make chocolate popular amongst people. The effect of chocolate in our lives is so much that it features in a large number of ways too. The mst famous, of course, being Roald Dahl’s children’s novel ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. Laura Esquivel’s ‘Like Water for Chocolate’, Joanne Harris’ ‘Chocolat’ , Joanne Carl’s ‘Chocoholic Mysteries’ and Toby Moore’s ‘Death By Chocolate’ have chocolate in a role, central to the plot.

For chocoholics like me it’s good to know the potential positive health effects. Though over consumption is associated with obesity, dark chocolate helps reduce blood pressure, lowers cholestrol levels and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Besides, it has anti-cancer, anti-diarrhoeal, cough preventive and brain stimulating activities. So now go and binge on your chocolate guilt free!”, ‘notes’ => “DID YOU KNOWS Although cacoa is originally from the Americas, today it is the countries of Western Africa that produce almost two-thirds of world’s cacoa, with Cote d’Ivoire growing almost half of it.
Every year seven to nine times more cocoa is bought and sold on exchange than exists.
The Aztec used cacao as a form of money to trade with the Mayans.


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