This week’s edition of the Friday Fact isn’t about writing. It’s about the next-best thing: chocolate.

Europe is home to some of the best chocolate. My husband, born and raised in France, argues that his native country beats all. For Christmas I bought him a copy of Let’s Eat France! by Francois-Regis Gaudry and friends. It’s a brilliantly illustrated tome on the history of cuisine, how to eat, and the best recipes. There’s a nice spread on chocolate, including this bit:

In 1659, Louis XIV granted the first known chocolatier in history, David Chaillou, the right to make and sell chocolate for drinking.

Where might we be today, without the Sun King and his observance of chocolate’s importance on the world stage? Drinking only hot milk, perhaps.

  1. Thank you, Kristina. This October I visited Colonial Williamsburg and spent part of a morning watching two reenactors turning raw cocoa into pats of chocolate. Beginning with cocoa beans, they clean, roasted, shelled, ground, and heated to extract the oily cocoa butter, which they poured into round pats. Next I went to a shop to drink hot chocolate. Rich like syrup, it was the most amazing hot cocoa I’ve ever experienced. I could LIVE on the stuff. This recipe approximates its complex flavors:

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