Au Chocolat

The mere mention of anything associated with this mouthwatering confection can cause a dreamy look to come into the eyes of the chocoholic.

The cocoa tree, Theobroma cacao, originated in South America and from the early 7th century was cultivated by the Maya. In 1502, Christopher Columbus took the cocoa bean to Spain, but it wasn't until later when Cortes introduced Xocotlati, a recipe brought from the Mexican court of Montezuma for a drink made from crushed roasted cocoa beans and cold water. Vanilla, spices, honey and sugar were added to improve the flavor of this thick and bitter brew and over time it came to be served hot....our hot chocolate was born!

In the 17th century, the popularity of cocoa spread to the rest of Europe. France was the first country to fall to its charms, then Holland, where Amsterdam became the most important cocoa port beyond Spain.

From there cocoa went to Germany, then north to Scandinavia, and also south to Italy. Cocoa arrived in England in the mid-17th century, and in London, chocolate houses quickly began to rival the newly established coffee houses.

In the early 19th century, Dutch chemist Conraad Van Houten invented a press to extract the fat from the beans, and developed a method of neutralizing the acids. In this way, he was able to produce almost pure cocoa butter, and a hard "cake" which could be milled to a powder to use as a flavouring. As a result, it became possible to eat chocolate as well as to drink it. Yay for Conraad!

In Britain, Fry's chocolate appeared in 1847, and in Switzerland the famous chocolate companies were established. In 1875 chocolate was combined with condensed milk to produce the first milk chocolate. At around this time, Lindt found a way of making the smooth, melting chocolate still associated with its company today. About 20 years later, Hershey introduced the famous chocolate bar in the United States.

Cocoa trees are now grown in many parts of the world. The cocoa beans are left in the sun, then shelled, and the kernels processed to produce cocoa solids. Finally, the cocoa butter is extracted and further processed to become chocolate in all of its forms!

Around the Christmas holiday season, I enjoy trying new recipes and sharing with my friends. I have difficulty keeping too many confections in my home, as my willpower wanes.
So....are YOU a chocoholic?

Text and images from the book, Chocolate
Hot Brandy Chocolate
Hot Chocolate Souffle
Chocolate Brownie Roulade
Chocoate and Banana Crepes
Candied Citrus Peel
Champagne Mousse

If you would like any recipes, drop me a line.



  1. I am happily over the top with chocolate. Actually, I watch how much I consume of it. My motto is "moderation". However, when something chocolately and gooey comes along - watch out!! :)

  2. Hi, Renae! I didn't used to be, but I think I've made up for lost time! Your photos look delicious. Have you made any or cooked out of that book?

  3. You are making me very hungry, Renae! Great post.

  4. Yes in fact it's gotten so that I don't allow boxes of chocolate in my house at christmas because I gain 5 pounds :)

  5. Growing up i was never a fan of chocolate, but lately, it is really something I crave.. Expecialy dark chocolate.. When i was expecting I would have warm milk and unsweetened cocoa. I am not quite a chocoholic, but i completely understand the addiction.

    my girlfriend on the other hand, eatch chocolate EVERY DAY !!

  6. Well, I would make a great comment, but I need a

  7. Not a good post to read at 9 pm. I have to have some chocolate. Yummy post.

  8. I am a chocoholic and I like everything chocolat wise.

  9. I am a chocoholic and I like everything chocolat wise.

  10. ok. great.
    my thighs just got fatter.
    thanks!! lol


  11. Oh my....these pics are testing my resolve to stay off the sweets. So, I love the history lesson on one of my favorite subjects!

  12. you know..........this header of yours is so fantastic!!



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