Saturday, January 1, 2011

Celebrate New Year's with Colonial Chocolate

For our American Sisters and Brothers and I'm sure a decent number of English speakers out there, you've heard of the American Revolution, the war of Independence as it is called here in the States.  You may have heard of the uprising over tea taxes but what you may not have heard about in your basic history classes or seen in re-enactments is just how important chocolate became during that time.

Your Chocolate Priestess was contacted by a representative of the American Heritage Chocolate company which is the historical division of MARS who makes a lot of that candy I'm sure a lot of you used for Halloween, for Christmas and enjoy on a weekly basis.  Now your Chocolate Priestess's previous main career was as a historian at the university level. While I didn't specialize in American history, I helped and took so many classes that I can write on some level about it.



A box of three of the products arrived on the day that our Chocolate Fruity Acolyte and I were making chocolate from a kit that we reviewed in the fall of 2010.  It came right after we had filled the paper cups and so we open up the cardboard box to find a wooden box inside.  It took a few moments then we realized that is slid open on the top.


Inside were three samples which I thought were three different products but which turned out to be only two types of products: chocolate sticks and a chocolate block.  Today as a way to look back, way back, at the start of 2011, I'm going to reveal the chocolate sticks to you.  I'll use the block later this winter to see how easy it is to shave and melt.



The chocolate sticks came in two size samples.  One was a single stick wrapped in sort of waxy paper with a label on it but no nutritional information.  The others were in a set of 4 sticks in a muslim bag which had nutritional information and said that all of the sticks inside equaled one serving.  Since I don't normally eat a full serving of anything I review and I do not have Acolytes with me this morning as I write this live for you, Sisters and Brothers, I open the one stick container only.  In one stick there should be 62.5 calories, 2.25g saturated fat, 5mg sodium, 1g fiber, 5.25g sugars, 0.5g protein with traces of calcium and 2% iron.

The sticks are almost 3.5 inches long and have a diameter of 0.5 inches; yes these are cylinders shaped sticks.  They are covered in cocoa dusting and a very spicy scent to them.  The reason is that there is a colonial spice mixture that they use though since recipes in the past were not written as we do now, it would have taken their group of historians and chefs some time to come up with how to make and what ingredients to include in specific amounts.  You can check HERE for what spices these include if you have any spice allergies.  The chocolate is very pure I can tell from how loud the snap is when I take a bite. Oh, the first bite was a bit too big and soon my mouth is flooded with sharp spices which make my eyes water and yet do not now drown out the bitter chocolate.  Whoa that would give you some energy for your day, let me tell you.  The immediate buzz lingers for some time as well.  I'll be certain to warn us modern folks before letting them take a bite.

Has any of you found these chocolates at American History locations? I haven't been to any since American Heritage Chocolate was founded in 2006.   The website lists seven locations you can buy then from, three of these have online buying options as well. 

Why would you want these?  For some of us, tasting different types of chocolate is simply fun. Others like to think about and experience history.  In this case you are also experiencing what being patriotic partly meant for our Founding Fathers and Mothers.

I mentioned tea earlier.  Tea came primarily through British rule in India and the British Crown controlled the tea trade in the colonies.  When I say "control" I mean in in all senses of the word.  Once people in these American colonies started to rebel, one way was to stop drinking tea -- you don't drink it, you don't have to pay the tax.  But where do you turn then for your hot beverages that you all love?  They turned, in part, to the rest of the New World and started using chocolate on a scale that until then was unheard of.  Our ancestors used it in drinks, for baking and cooking, and simple ate it straight.  They came up with recipes that used spices the Crown didn't control and chocolate rations were found in the American Revolutionary soldier's gear.  So when you try this, you are trying something as close to the American Revolution as you can get in the form of food and drink.

7 comments:

5 Star Foodie said...

These chocolates sound very neat! As we visit lots of historical places we will be sure to look for them! Thanks!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Hi, 5 Star Foodie, let us know where you find them as you visit sites. Make sure you visit the website I listed to find out where you should be able to find them.

Emilie said...

I have not found these products at any historic sites I have visited in Indiana, Illinois, or Missouri. Maybe that is appropriate, because chocolate was not nearly as popular in the Colonial period as it is today.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

If you click on the "buying options" link in the review, you can see which sites sell it. There are only seven of them.

Nicole said...

@The Chocolate Priestess- Thanks for such an informative review!

@Emilie as of right now we do not offer any chocolates at historic sites in the states you mentioned. You can, however, purchase our chocolates online through the 'buy options' link The Chocolate Priestess mentioned. [ http://www.americanheritagechocolate.com/html/buy.htm ]

-Nicole
The Historic Division of Mars Team

Pauline said...

Very interesting blog - I love the history of sweets as well as current consumption of such goodies. Just returned from a visit to the states and had to do a lot of sampling for research. Happy New Year too.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I wish I could afford to take similar tours around the world, heck even around the country. The most I can do is stop when I see a chocolatier or chocolate shop during a business trip or those rare visits back to our families of origin.

I hope you keep reading and commenting, Pauline.

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