A Secret Passion by Pat Cirrincione

Pat speaks to every woman’s heart (and a few men) as she divulges her passion for anything chocolate.

I’ll be the first to admit it, I have a passion for anything chocolate. Chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, dark or milk chocolate covered candy or nuts or fruit of any kind. Chocolate donuts, chocolate milk, if there is chocolate in any part of  the word, recipe or description, I have to check it out.

I’ve even done research on the topic. According to Joel Glenn Brenner, in his book The Emperors of Chocolate, Inside the Secret World of Hershey & Mars, “drinking a cup of morning chocolate was considered the height of fashion among Eighteenth century Europe’s aristocracy. And that milk chocolate – like gold – possesses, some say supernatural powers. That few can resist the sumptuous combination of mellow, ivory milk and bold, alluring chocolate. That together, they have captivated the world.”

Brenner continues: “Although no one knows how humans struck upon the  process of making the drink, archaeological evidence reveals that by the time of Christ, ancient peoples of Mesoamerica had been enjoying it since 1000 B.C.” It was considered the food of the gods, but I’ll be content knowing only one God could have created such a delightful thing as the cocoa bean to bring a smile to the faces of his creation.

Is it any wonder then, that when you go to a football game in the fall—and the days eventually willturn cool and crisp—you see many people around you enjoying a cup of hot, steaming, chocolate? Not only does it taste and smell good, but the feel of it warming your hands through your mittens is delightful.

Lest you think chocolate is only for drinking, do you remember how gooey and creamy S’mores are? That wonderful campfire concoction of graham crackers with Hershey chocolate squares melting under the marshmallows you roasted, with crispy burnt edges? I am going into spasms of sheer joy just thinking about how good that would be right now.

Now that I have whetted your appetite for this delicious tasting gift from above, let me give you some sad news before we get back to the good news. In the 1970s, according to our expert source, Brenner, “nice people did not eat chocolate.” For a moment, I thought I had gone delusional when I read that. Chocolate had become a “pariah,  a tawdry indulgence for middle-aged traveling salesmen, pimply overweight  teenagers, and lonely housewives watching the afternoon soaps.” But then came the 1980s and sanity returned.

In that decade, elegant chocolate boutiques began appearing across the United States. These wonderful stores catered to customers, like myself, who delighted in picking out individual bon-bons or two or three or . . . . Candy boxes were remade, and we were being tempted by Godiva, Frango Mints, Hershey, Nestle and Mars. I thought I had died and gone to chocolate heaven! Life had returned to normal. Life was good again, and I could return to either one square of dark chocolate a day, or a bag of Hershey kisses while reading a book or a jar of Nutella in which to dip my fruit.

By now you get the picture. I have a passion for anything chocolate. With late September turning to October soon, my thoughts turn to baking and my chocolate fudge brownie cake or maybe my chocolate, chocolate chip cookies with sea salt. I have a good idea, why don’t you come over for a visit?  I’ll put on the coffee and tea pot, make something chocolaty, and we can go over this week’s Bible study together.