Chocolate made it's biggest impact in France with the marriage of Anne of Austria, the daughter of Philip II of Spain to Louis XIII of France on November 24, 1615. The Spanish, of course, found cacao when they conquered parts of Mexico and Mesoamerica. As with all of Europe, chocolate was originally a drink and it was first enjoyed among the courtiers and the most wealthy in France. It remained a very expensive treat until the French took control of Cuba and Haiti in 1684 and established their own cocoa plantations. When I type plantations, yes, you should be thinking of slave labor because that is indeed what was used.
|Found here: http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Nicolas-De-Mathoniere/The-Double-Marriage-In-1615-Of-Louis-XIII-1601-43-To-Anne-Of-Austria-1601-66-And-Philip-Of-Austria-1605-65-Future-Philip-IV-Of-Spain-To-Elizabeth-Of-France-1602-44.html|
Today the French are considered one of the traditional chocolate makers and their processes are known worldwide. Indeed some American chocolatiers boast of their French techniques and being trained in France. For most of us, buying French chocolate is an expensive prospect but we can find French products with chocolate in them if we look.
A French chocolate I'm sure you can find almost any where in the USA and Canada has to be the Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate bars. I can find them in almost any pharmacy in South Central Indiana so I'm betting you can find it in California, Quebec, Florida, let me know if you haven't heard of these bars, Sisters and Brothers. I've reviewed the 90% and 85% before, I've even had the 99% which you really should use for baking. Today I wanted to look at the 70%. At 70% we are in the health benefits range but not so bitter that the majority of you won't even want to try. I know you White and Milk Chocolate lovers are sad when you hear the health benefits only apply to higher cacao but remember you can still have those treats in moderation, just not every day.
One 3.5oz bar which I can find in so many different stores at the 70% mark, has 2.5 servings or 4 sections of the bar per 220 calories. Those calories are made of 10g saturated fat (ouch!), 20mg sodium, 2g fiber, 11g sugars, 3g protein, with $5 calcium and 10% iron you need every day. When I saw that amount for the saturated fat (OUCH), I knew I had to point out this is 1/2 the amount of that type of fat an adult should limit herself to each day. Best to eat square I think and stretch this bar into 10 servings. Taste wise this is wonderful, you get the bitterness and the buzz, a hint of sweet, it satisfies and makes your eyes feel like you can see the world in a brighter way.
Of course, our deceased French monarchs wouldn't have had treat quite like these. They were still looking at chocolate as a drink, a spicy one as that. Over the course of the next century that would start to change as pastries and candies would begin to appear with added milk, sugar and fewer and fewer hot or savory spices. Chocolate had to begin somewhere in French at some point to have the treats I liked at today available to us now. We have Spanish princess Anne to thank for that.