Few beans are as globally significant as the cacao bean. Originating in the Americas, where it constituted the basis of Montezuma’s favorite drink, it is now nearly ubiquitous. Pick a format of food or drink and there’s probably been a chocolate-themed riff on it somewhere in the world. It is cherished by the newly dumped in the form of lapped-up ice cream pints just as it is romanticized as the proverbial box of chocolates. It is the Renaissance man of foods: an aphrodisiac, a mood-lifter, and an antioxidant all at once, it is everything you want in a significant other.
Tomorrow, whether we’re exchanging heart-shaped truffle boxes with moony-eyed lovers or punctuating our anti-Valentine’s rants with vindicated nibbles of a monstrous Hershey’s bar, chocolate will be damn near inescapable. The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology has zeroed in on this and is sponsoring a talk called “Cacao Cultivation and Courtly Appetite in the Classic Maya Lowlands.” Bop over to Salomon 101 at 5:30, where anthropologist Patricia A. McAnany will start by presenting her latest research on chocolate (side note: chocolate researcher? Hey there, dream job, it’s a pleasure to meet you). The second part of the evening is the clincher: a tasting of Taza Chocolates (a small bean-to-bar manufacturer) and Mars Chocolates (candy giants with mainstays like M&Ms, Snickers, and Orbit gum under their belt).
In short: Interesting background to a delicious topic, plus lots of free chocolate for you to devour before embarking on whatever your V-Day night entails. Why wouldn’t you go?