This tasty learn node includes reports of discoveries in the history of chocolate from the Los Angeles Times, New York Science Times and other open sources relaying to the public science news that is from a source is limited to its paid subscribers (in this case the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
The chocolate news from the LA Times report:
Humans began exploiting cacao beans for alcohol before they started using them to make chocolate, according to new findings that push the earliest known use of cacao back about 500 years.
Residue scraped from pottery vessels dating to 1400 B.C. to 1100 B.C. indicate that residents of Honduras’ remote Ulua Valley fermented the sweet pulp of the chocolate plant to make an alcoholic drink well before they began grinding the bitter seeds and mixing them with honey and chiles to produce the equivalent of modern cocoa. . . .
Open chocolate history, chemistry and food information are richly available online. To pick a few pieces out of the virtual chocolate knowledge box: This MIT Kitchen Chemistry page includes a topic-by-topic online chocolate topic tour. Chicago’s Field Museum has an online chocolate knowledge feast Chocolate: The Exhibition. And the US Food and Drug Administration has a page (from which the image of chocolates above is taken) on its standards for chocolate.
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