Chow Down Brown: Having Your Chocolate and Eating It Too


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?

The sinister side of cocoa

Now there’s a new reason to see if your roommate is stealing your food.  According to a recently published study jointly conducted by investigators at UC San Diego and UC Davis, overindulgence in chocolate can be a warning sign for depression.  Now we know why the cookie monster ended up in rehab.