Day 15: Michel Cluizel chocolate is BTS

During his conquest of Mexico, the Spanish explorer, Hernando Cortez, found Aztec Indians using cocoa beans to prepare a drink called “chocolatl”, meaning “warm liquid”. The Aztecs and Mayans were apparently the first to recognize the potency of chocolate and celebrated the harvest with festivals of wild orgies (I am not making this up). Montezuma, who supposedly drank 50 or more portions daily, was known to guzzle down a cup of chocolate before entering his harem. Evidently Montezuma and chocolate are a match made in Caligula heaven – at least 50 times a day.

Of course, the conquistadores couldn’t possibly let the Mexicans keep the Pandora’s box to themselves, and the seductions of chocolate have lured and repelled many throughout history. In 1624 Johan Franciscus Rauch, a professor in Vienna, condemned chocolate as an inflamer of passions and urged monks not to drink it as he wanted to ban it in the monasteries. It is said that Madame du Barry, courtesan and mistress of Louis XV, always served her lovers a cup of chocolat before they were let in to her bedroom, and that the great lover and alchemist Casanova, who drank his cioccolata at Cafe Florian in Venice, considered chocolate more stimulating than champagne and called it the “elixir of love”. Tell me, can one be any classier in justifying his depravities?

So what was I doing at the Michel Cluizel chocolatier outlet at ABC Carpet & Home on 18th and Broadway last night, picking out two sinful bars of fine chocolate? First I got the Grand Lait 45%, a milk chocolate bar which (and I am reading from the label here) “provides a full flavoured milk chocolate containing all the richer caramel notes one comes to expect from a high cocoa milk, but with just enough sugar to keep it from turning too bitter for the milk chocolate lovers.” I found it intensely sweet and rich – not a bad thing – but it was my dark chocolate pick, the Noir de Cacao 72% that bowled me over. It was not too tart and fruity – and allow me to sound pretentious here – “with real depth of character”. It turns out that the product is actually Michel Cluizel’s bestseller and dark chocolate is huge in France, so popular in fact that it’s the only country in the world where Lindt’s entire range of dark chocolate is sold. While I love chocolate, I’ve only recently been acquainted with the language used to describe its spectrum of flavors, which is just as complex and diverse as that of wine. Having had my tasting last night, I think I’m going to be crossing over to the dark side – when it comes to chocolate, that is. 



One Response to “Day 15: Michel Cluizel chocolate is BTS”

  1. Gilles H. Says:

    Ok Vince, now you are really getting my attention. Yes, chocolate is better than sex. But not only that. It has more diversity, more intensity, and more simplicity than sex can ever have, even for the more liberated. 🙂
    And at my age sweetheart, that is good news ! (giggle!)
    Sure, I’m French. There must be a chocolate lover gene running in my people. But hey, we are not bad at sex either !
    By the way, chocolate breath during sex is not a bad idea. Madame du Barry was a smart girl (the Frenchs didn’t bath or brush their teeth at that time, right? yuck !). 😀

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