The Dark History of Chocolate

In this bonus episode I talk with Emma Kay about her new book A Dark History of Chocolate.

Firstly, may I say that this is a fantastic book. I constantly alternated between being ashamed of ever eating chocolate to being seduced by the idea of this rich, darkly magical substance. I was left at the end not sure whether I could ever look a chocolate digestive in the face again and equally wanting to rush off and make intensely dark chocolate truffles with smokey whisky & sea salt and indulge in every one! 

About the Book

Publishers Description: A Dark History of Chocolate looks at our long relationship with this ancient ‘food of the Gods’. The book examines the impact of the cocoa bean trade on the economies of Britain and the rest of Europe, as well as its influence on health, cultural and social trends over the centuries. Renowned food historian Emma Kay takes a look behind the façade of chocolate – first as a hot drink and then as a sweet – delving into the murky and mysterious aspects of its phenomenal global growth, from a much-prized hot beverage in pre-Colombian Central America to becoming an integral part of the cultural fabric of modern life.

From the seductive corridors of Versailles, serial killers, witchcraft, medicine and war to its manufacturers, the street sellers, criminal gangs, explorers and the arts, chocolate has played a significant role in some of the world’s deadliest and gruesome histories.

If you thought chocolate was all Easter bunnies, romance and gratuity, then you only know half the story. This most ancient of foods has a heritage rooted in exploitation, temptation and mystery.

With the power to be both life-giving and ruinous

About the Author

Emma Kay is a museum professional who has worked in major institutions including The National Maritime Museum, The British Museum and the University of Bath. She is qualified in History and Conservation and numerous areas of Heritage Management and Archaeology. 

She is now a food historian, author and prolific collector of Kitchenalia and lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and young son. Her articles have appeared in publications including BBC History Magazine, The Daily Express, Daily Mail and Times Literary Supplement. She has contributed historic food research for a number of television production companies and featured several times on Talk Radio Europe, BBC Hereford and Worcester, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, BBC Humberside, BBC Gloucestershire and LifeFM.

In 2018 she appeared in a ten-part series for the BBC and Hungry Gap Productions, ‘ The Best Christmas Food Ever’ and on BBC Countryfile, co-presenting a feature exploring the heritage of the black pear.

At the end of 2019 Emma was filmed for a new Channel 5 series, exploring the food from some of Britain’s greatest battles. She is also the author of 9 published books.

You can order this book direct from the publishers Pen and Sword or Bookshop.org . You can find out more about Emma at her website or on Twitter @museumofkitchen or Instagram @museumofkitchenalia . Emma also has a Youtube channel.

Featured Image: Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

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