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Prehispanic chocolate in the pueblos of the U.S. Southwest

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | March 17, 2011

Just about two years ago, Patricia Crown published the first study to identify residues of theobromine — a distinctive chemical present in the cacao plant, and hence in chocolate drinks — north of Mexico. The residues were recovered from three of five tested sherds, pieces of three painted cylinders from Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, … Continue reading »

Chocolate: for Valentine’s Day

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | February 14, 2011

Valentine’s Day: for many people this brings gifts of chocolate. Not that chocolate gift giving is recession proof. A 2009 article from Nielsen market research predicted that sales of chocolate for Valentine’s Day would reach $345 million, enabling purchase of 58 million pounds of chocolate. But in 2010, the National Retail Federation found that couples … Continue reading »

Bitter chocolate news

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | January 15, 2011

Cacao beans, the natural source of chocolate, famously were used as a form of money among the Aztecs. Not that everyone wandered the markets in Tenochtitlan with bags of them ready to pay for other goods: consumption, and probably ownership, of cacao was restricted to the nobility. Instead, cacao beans were a valuable, scarce luxury, … Continue reading »