International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) 2010 Award Finalists in the Culinary History category. Chocolate. We all love it, but how much do we really know about it? In addition to pleasing palates since ancient times, chocolate has played an integral role in culture, society, religion, medicine, and economic development across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In 1998, the Chocolate History Group was formed by the University of California, Davis, and Mars, Incorporated to document the fascinating story and history of chocolate. This book features fifty-seven essays representing research activities and contributions from more than 100 members of the group. These contributors draw from their backgrounds in such diverse fields as anthropology, archaeology, biochemistry, culinary arts, gender studies, engineering, history, linguistics, nutrition, and paleography. The result is an unparalleled, scholarly examination of chocolate, beginning with ancient pre-Columbian civilizations and ending with twenty-first-century reports. Here is a sampling of some of the fascinating topics explored inside the book: Ancient gods and Christian celebrations: chocolate and religion Chocolate and the Boston smallpox epidemic of 1764 Chocolate pots: reflections of cultures, values, and times Pirates, prizes, and profits: cocoa and early American east coast trade Blood, conflict, and faith: chocolate in the southeast and southwest borderlands of North America Chocolate in France: evolution of a luxury product Development of concept maps and the chocolate research portal Not only does this book offer careful documentation, it also features new and previously unpublished information and interpretations of chocolate history. Moreover, it offers a wealth of unusual and interesting facts and folklore about one of the world's favorite foods.