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April 8, 2011     Post-Gazette
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Page 8 POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 8, 2011 Ahead "'Every time I hear the dirty word "exercise" I wash my mouth out with chocolate. "" by James DiPrima Many of us are familiar with chocolate. We know it comes in many vari- eties, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, semisweet chocolate, bitter chocolate, organic chocolate and even gourmet chocolate. It comes in many shapes such as Hershey bars, Hershey kisses, M&M's, and in so many other forms and covering so many other delicious treats, even an Easter bunny and'a Santa Claus that so many children enjoy during the, holiday seasons. And who hasn't enjoyed a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting?. It may be surprising to know that in 2001 Americans ate 7 billion pounds of candy at a cost of approximately $1.9 billion for Easter, at Halloween nearly $2 billion, at Christmas $1.4 billion and at Valentine's Day a little over $1 billion. Now that is a lot of Chocolate treats plus other goodies. I Chocolate Bunny But what do we know of chocolate? Well, chocolate has been around for quite a while. The earliest known drinkers of chocolate were the ancient Maya and Mesoamerican Aztecs. Before it became the sweet candy and drink that we are all familiar with, it was a drink that was spicy, made from cacao seeds that were ground into a paste and when mixed with water and chili peppers and other ingredients made a "frothy bitter drink." We know this because anthro- pologists discovered choco- late in "glyphs" (Maya Hiero- glyphics). Cocoa comes from a seed that is grown on a cacao tree. It was so valued that many Mayan homes had cocoa trees planted near their homes. Cocoa was valued so highly that it was also used as money and traded with others such as the Aztecs. In the 1500s Spain's desire to increase its wealth led its explorers to the conquest of the Aztecs and an introduction to chocolate. Chocolate was so highly valued that when Cortez defeated Montezuma in 1519 and went in to search his palace for the Aztec treasure of gold and silver, they only came across huge amounts of Cocoa beans. To make the drink more palatable the Spanish added vanilla and sugar to the grinding of the beans. In Spain chocolate was very expensive and as a result was only available to those who were very wealthy. Spain and Portugal were able to keep the secret of making the chocolate drink for 100 years and then it spread throughout the European countries of France, Germany, Spain Netherlands and Italy, and also to England. The drink became so popular that soon "chocolate cafes" were opened up and were used for social gatherings much like today's Starbucks. Dr. Joseph Fry of Bristol, England in 1795 developed a steam engine for grind- ing cocoa beans. He was able to manufacture choco- late on a production scale. Then in 1847 The Joseph Fry and Son Chocolate Company found "a way to mix some of the cocoa butter back into the "Dutched" (Dutching was a process invented by Conrad Van Houten that squeezed out some of the cocoa but- ter to give the beverage a smoother consistency) choc- olate, and added sugar, cre- ating a paste that could be molded. The result was the first modern chocolate bar". A Chocolate Bar Soon many countries began to produce chocolate in many forms. Very delicious chocolates can be found in Italy, Germany, France, Austria and probably the best known for choc- Real Estate Matt6o Gallo Appraisals Sales & Rentals 376 North Street * Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-2100 * Fax (617) 523-3530 olates, Belgium. The devel- opment of chocolates for eating was first introduced at an exhibition in 1859 at Bingley Hall, in Birm- ingham, England by Joseph Fry and Son and Cadbury Brothers. And what would Valentine's Day be without a heart shaped box of chocolates for your sweetie that was first marketed by Richard Cadbury. Happy Valentine One of the most well known chocolate companies in Naples, Italy is Gay-Odin. They, Isidoro Odin, a Swiss, and his wife Onorina Gay, in 1894 began experimenting with different varieties of chocolate recipes and the production of chocolate candy. In 1922 they opened their first store in Naples and many more followed. They are a major supplier of sweets to the many Neapolitan cafes. A must try on the next visit to Italy. I would like to close with a few other memorable chocolate events: "1851 Prince Albert's Exposition in London was the first time that Americans were introduced to bonbons, chocolate creams, hand candies (called "boiled sweets"), and caramels." "In 1876 Daniel Peter and Henri Nestl6 joined together to form the Nestl6 Company." "In 1897 he firstknown published recipe for choc- olate brownies appeared in the Sears and Roebuck catalogue." And finally a local flavor of chocolate, "In 1765 chocolate was introduced to the United States when Irish chocolate-maker John Hanan imported cocoa beans from the West Indies into Dorchester, Massachusetts, to refine them with the help of American Dr. James Baker. The pair soon after built America's first choco- late mill and by 1780, the mill was making the famous BAKER'S -Chocolate. COALITION COORDINATOR Wanted Port-time Coalition Coordinator position available for EBNASA (East Boston Neighborhood Against Substance Abuse). For complete job description, please visit: www.ebnesa.org. Submit o cover letter and e resume to: East Boston ffarborside Community School Council, Inc., 3]2 Border Street, East Boston, MA 02128. Attn: Pet Milano or e-mail to: pmileno@ebnaso.org. All resumes end cover letters must be received no later than Friday, April 15'~, 201l. No phone cells or visits pleese. Pat Barrasso, 96, of the North End, stands in front of a snow bank outside his apartment building on Baldwin Street. Pat said that he hasn't seen so much snow in a long time and this winter was a winter to remember. He is looking forward to warmer weather. Peter Meade New BRA Chief (Continued from Page I) and innovative planning, andcommunity cooperation that cultivating strong neighbor- will be the model of success hoods." of the Greenway for genera- "As a lifelong resident of tions to come. As Chair of Boston, it is truly an honor the Emerson College Board to have this opportunity to of Trustees, Meade has work with Mayor Menino, played a pivotal role in mov- the BRA staff, and the Bos- ing Emerson College from ton community to shape the the Back Bay to the theater future of our great city," district, helping to transform Meade said. "Boston is a an important part of down- place of great history that town Boston. has continued to thrive as an Beyond his many profes- innovative 21st century city. sional accomplishments Pe- I look forward to working to- ter Meade has been recog- gether to build a prosperous nized for his compassion, home for the residents, commitment and influence families and businesses of in Boston and throughout Boston." the region. Meade has held numerous Over the next several leadershipp0sitions in grow- years the BRA Will focus on ing sectors of our economy, the e4~onomic development Prior to leading the develop- taking place at the "inter- ment of the Kennedy Insti- sections". Universities are tute, he was the Executive working to transfer ideas to Vice President of Blue Cross businesses. Business sec- Blue Shield of Massachu- tors are collaborating as setts. Meade was part of the never before in cities. And leadership team that trans- cities are crossing regional formed Blue Cross Blue and national boundaries to Shield into a health insur- build economic clusters and ance powerhouse with out- networks. Meade has a life- standing profits and a com- time of experience at these mitment to community, intersections and is well po- Meade played a significant sitioned to foster productive role in keeping the Blue connections across Boston Cross Blue Shield headquar- and beyond city borders. ters in the city of Boston. As -These multi-sector ap- President and CEO of the proaches will unfold in many New England Council, Meade of the BRA's major upcoming redirected the struggling projects - including the re- organization's management development of Dudley and made it the "go to" orga- Square, where the city is fo- nization representing our cusing on public-private region's economic wellbeing partnerships; the Innovation and business interests in District on the waterfroili Washington, DC. As the where open collaboration is Chairman of The Rose Fitz- becoming commonplace; and gerald Kennedy Greenway in new job training and cre- Conservancy, he helped ation efforts to match the usher in a new model for evolving economy. sustainable leadership and The Agency for all your Insurance Coverages AUTO HOMEOWNERS TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference SPECIALIST in RESTAURANT and BUSINESS POLICIES CALL TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 - Fax 617-723-9212 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 Conveniently located with Free Parking