Oh, the decadence, the satisfaction and the pure joy that wine and chocolate can bring to our lives. Held high in admiration for centuries, these glorious substances stemmed from Mother Nature. They were deemed as gifts from the ancient Gods and prized for having special powers, offering medicinal properties, health benefits and even having a role in religious and fertility ceremonies and, of course, inspiring love and passion. There were many goddesses and gods connected to chocolate and wine around the world. The most well-known for chocolate being the Mayan Goddess Ixcacao, the God Ek-chuah and the major Gods of wine, Greek Dionysus and Roman Bacchus, the wine party God. We still highly revere the power of chocolate and wine today and perhaps worship them in our own way.
Did you know…?
- The beginnings of chocolate are now believed to date back over 3,000 years with the Olmecs in Central America, not the Mayans
- Cacao, meaning “God food”, was worshipped by the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs for its mystical and aphrodisiac properties. Chocolate is made from beans grown in pods on a cacao tree
- Aztec emperor Montezuma, who had over 600 wives in his harem, is reputed to have consumed fifty golden goblets of chocolate a day to enhance his abilities
- Casanova is even said to have indulged in chocolate before seducing his women
- Cacao was so highly prized, the Aztecs used it as currency
- The first solid chocolate bar was introduced in 1847 by a British chocolate company called Fry’s. Up until then, chocolate was consumed as a drink often mixed with spice, vanilla and honey
- Wine is our most ancient alcoholic drink, perhaps dating back 10,000 years, and it still is held in high esteem
- Wine is said to have saved growing populations from the diseases caused by bad water
- In ancient Greece, a dinner host would take the first sip of wine to assure guests the wine was not poisoned, hence the phrase “drinking to one’s health”
- “Toasting” started in ancient Rome when the Romans continued the Greek tradition but started dropping a piece of toasted bread into each wine glass to temper undesirable tastes or excessive acidity
- Early Roman women were forbidden to drink wine, and a husband who found his wife drinking was at liberty to kill her. Both the Egyptians and Romans believed that women who drank were promiscuous and adulterers
- An Italian study argues that women who drink two glasses of wine a day have better sex than those who don’t drink at all
But even though wine and chocolate have been associated with excess, they don’t have to be guilty pleasures. Today we know, in fact, that both dark chocolate and red wine have magical qualities as they contain vital antioxidants that, in moderation, may help prevent cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. We will explore these and other health benefits throughout the summer!
Lisa Mecray Rogers, award-winning Master Chocolatier and Founder of Luxx Chocolat® xquisite artisan chocolate, ChocoVin Chocolate & Wine Tastings® and Luxx Academy du Chocolat offering classes with adults in mind, Ridgewood resident, recognized as one of 2014 and 2013 Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America. Luxx Chocolat offers unique handcrafted works of art. Nothing artificial, no preservatives, not mass produced.