How did this delicacy even get its start and what are the best chocolates indeed? Of course, naming the BEST is definitely a matter of taste. Let's look at its origin first and save the best for last.
Embrace the Past. . .
As you pondered first thoughts when you hear the word chocolate, it is possible hot cocoa or chocolate milk came to mind. In fact, it is chocolate in the form of a "drink" that came first, rather than that which you "eat." For most of chocolate's history, it was strictly a beverage—not the hot cocoa or chocolate milk of today and NOT something sweet!
The word, chocolate, traces its origin back to the Aztec word "xocoatl," a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. Cacao refers to the plant or the beans, whereas "chocolate" refers to that which is made from the beans. Mixtures of cacao have been documented in rituals to celebrate, to heal and to savor. Preparations—ceremonial, medicinal, culinary—date back to the Early Formative (1900-900 BC) period.
Of course, that is simply the skinny behind all there is to know about chocolate—Just a few nuggets for you to chew on!
Empower the Present. . .
Calling All Chocoholics
What do you know about the makers and shakers of the chocolate world? Take this quiz from Traveler magazine and find out.
Enrich the Future. . .
Last, but not least. . .National Geographic's
1. Teuscher (Zurich, Switzerland)
Chocolates of Switzerland: Always fresh. Always delicious. Always Teuscher.
2. Vosges Haut-Chocolat (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
An Experiential Realm of Storytelling: Travel the World Through Chocolate
3. Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Inc. (Berkeley, California, USA)
America's Most Flavorful Chocolate: Perfectly Crafted Chocolate
4. Jacques Torres Chocolate (New York, New York, USA)
The World's Best Chocolate: Twelve Months of Chocolate Heaven
5. Norman Love Confections (Ft. Myers, Florida, USA)
Gourmet Chocolate Selections: Artistry in Chocolate
6. Valrhona (France)
En Savior Plus: Aux Sources Du Grand Chocolat
7. Godiva Chocolatier (Brussels, Belgium and worldwide)
Prestigious Chocolate: Legendary Passion for Chocolate
8. Richard Donnelly Fine Chocolates (Santa Cruz, California, USA)
Intense Chocolate: Handmade, Award Winning Chocolate
9. Richart (Paris, France)
French Gourmet Chocolates: Luxury Chocolates, Created with Passion
10. Puccini Bomboni (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Smooth Silkiness without Sugar, without Butter: Eat with your Eyes
Remember. . .
How many of the ten best have you tried? Of any chocolates, what is your favorite?