International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) 2010Award Finalists in the Culinary History category. Chocolate. We all love it, but how much do we really knowabout it? In addition to pleasing palates since ancient times,chocolate has played an integral role in culture, society,religion, medicine, and economic development across the Americas,Africa, Asia, and Europe. In 1998, the Chocolate History Group was formed by theUniversity of California, Davis, and Mars, Incorporated to documentthe fascinating story and history of chocolate. This book featuresfifty-seven essays representing research activities andcontributions from more than 100 members of the group. Thesecontributors draw from their backgrounds in such diverse fields asanthropology, archaeology, biochemistry, culinary arts, genderstudies, engineering, history, linguistics, nutrition, andpaleography. The result is an unparalleled, scholarly examinationof chocolate, beginning with ancient pre-Columbian civilizationsand ending with twenty-first-century reports. Here is a sampling of some of the fascinating topics exploredinside the book: Ancient gods and Christian celebrations: chocolate andreligion Chocolate and the Boston smallpox epidemic of 1764 Chocolate pots: reflections of cultures, values, and times Pirates, prizes, and profits: cocoa and early American eastcoast trade Blood, conflict, and faith: chocolate in the southeast andsouthwest borderlands of North America Chocolate in France: evolution of a luxury product Development of concept maps and the chocolate researchportal Not only does this book offer careful documentation, it alsofeatures new and previously unpublished information andinterpretations of chocolate history. Moreover, it offers a wealthof unusual and interesting facts and folklore about one of theworld's favorite foods.