It is ambitious to develop a page on chocolate, cocoa beans, pods etc... However, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I will develop this page and hope to provide food for thought.
Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage.
Author: Celia Shapiro
Title: The Nation of Nowhere: The Jewish Role in Colonial American Chocolate History.
The story of the Jewish role in the history of chocolate in Colonial America is really the story of the nation of Jews; a nation of nowhere. All of the groups involved in the history of chocolate in Colonial America have common motivations-often economic growth, frequently territorial expansion, sometimes a search for new personal liberties. However the Jews, unlike the Spaniards, Portuguese, French, and Dutch, do not have a geographic boundary to their cohort. Rather, the Jewish involvement is all about supporting oneself in a new location -again and again. The expulsion of the Jews from Spain began a migration that took the Jews to Amsterdam, the West Indies, and New Amsterdam; that gave birth to an international network of traders; and that played a critical part in bringing cocoa to America. On March 31, 1492, Isabella and Ferdinand issued the Expulsion Decree that stipulated that within four months all Jews and Jewesses had to leave the kingdom and lands of Spain. Among the many places that these Sephardic Jews re-settled were Amsterdam and the West Indies. Further, the Jews often could not own property or slaves, so they became traders. Jews, beginning with Benjamin d' Acosta Andrade, were instrumental in developing the cocoa trade in the West Indies. When the West Indies became inhospitable toward the Jews, they came to New Amsterdam and continued trading with their relatives and co-religionists in Europe and the West Indies. Sephardic Jews eventually became heavily involved in the North American cocoa trade. Nathan Simson, of New York, was one of the earliest and most prominent Colonial Jewish merchants. In one three-month period, 150,000 pounds of cocoa were traded in Curacao on his behalf. Aaron Lopez, of Newport, not only imported cocoa, he also manufactured chocolate. One of his primary chocolate producers was Prince Updike, a Negro. None of this involvement in the story of chocolate in Colonial America is due to a Jewish history of using chocolate in food or in religious observance--we were unable to find documentation to the contrary.
Author: Louis Grivetti
Title: Medicinal Chocolate in New Spain, Western Europe, and North America
Since earliest times the history of chocolate has been viewed both as a food and as a medicine. Members of our team previously summarized and published information on Pre-Colonial and early Spanish Colonial Era uses of chocolate, and how medicinal chocolate uses were ultimately transferred to Europe, whether to Spain, France, Italy, or England. The present paper will consider medicinal uses of chocolate during the early colonization of New Spain after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, identifies the medical-related content of the primary 16th-19th century chocolate-related monographs and treatises published in Europe after chocolate was introduced in the 16th century. The essay concludes with medical-related information gleaned from reports from the Spanish States in what is now California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas