Monday, November 12, 2012

It's All About Chocolate!

A friend and I went to The NAT - San Diego's Natural History
Museum in Balboa Park for it's exhibit Chocolate.The Exhibition.

This exhibit is the story of chocolate and will be there until March.
The cost is $17 to get in, but all the museums in Balboa Park are free
to San Diego residents the first Tuesday of every month.
How enticing is this entrance? We couldn't get in fast enough!
It began with the story of the Cocao Tree.  Cocao is pronounced "Ka-kow".
Growing in the rain forests, it told how the monkeys, rodents,
and birds feast on the cocao pulp but spit out the seeds.
This spreads the seeds around and increases the chance of a
new tree emerging - and responsible for the many cocao trees.
It told of the ancient Mayans and how our sweet candy started out
as a spicy, frothy drink...
and was usually made in a large earthenware vessel.
Chocolate became the food of Gods and Kings
and began being traded to foreign countries.

The Spaniards developed this Chocolate Stirrer to
help with making the drink extra frothy!
We can buy these chocolate stirrers even today.
North America and Europe were responsible for new inventions
using chocolate.  This included the Chocolate Bar.
With the help of advertising, chocolate inventions,
which now included the sweetened varieties, were born.
These are some older metal molds used by chocolate companies
to make their chocolate bars.  The ones on the left were
used to make Ghiradelli chocolate bars.  Ghiradelli Chocolate
is located in San Francisco and provides a great tour, if
you ever are lucky enough to find yourself in San Francisco!
In the early 1800's a chemist invented the cocoa press which extracted the
cocoa butter from the chooclate, leaving the powder we call cocoa.  The
powder was sold in tins as they are today.

The exhibit was self-paced and was quite thorough.  It included the European
influence on chocolate and the specialty serving pieces for serving
chocolate. Unfortunately, the pictures contained a nasty glare from the
glass so I have not included them here.
Check out this huge life-size sampler!
Imagine it real chocolate? Dreaming...
I found the chocolate candy cushion seats scattered throughout
the exhibit to be especially cute and soft!

The exhibit concluded in a gift store with all things chocolate,
How cute are these chocolate desserts made out of terry cloth towels?
After a taste of chocolate, I managed to get out with only purchasing
a tin of Chuao Chocolatier's Spicy Mayan Hot Chocolate.  Chuao makes
some wonderful chocolate products, if you haven't heard of them.

I wanted to bring this original spicy hot chocolate (sweetened thankfully!)
home and imagine myself back in the Mayan days... with the pyramids...
they would have loved the whipped cream!

Thank you for stopping by.

~ Karen

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