Chocolate Welcomes Us to Spain
Chocolate, Jews and Spain share a long history. Spanish royalty enjoyed the Aztec drink Spanish explorers discovered in the early 1500s. It became so popular in Spain of the 16th and 17th centuries that chocolate houses, like cafés, developed everywhere. Similar houses still exist today in most of Spain’s major cities.
Spaniards guarded their production of chocolate secrets for decades, controlling cocoa production and trade in the Americas, as well as cocoa exports to Europe. Indeed, Spain’s conquest of the New World brought chocolate to Europe, then returned it to America transformed into candy.
Because the discovery of chocolate and the Spanish Inquisition along with the expulsion of Jews from Spain coincided, the Jewish connection to chocolate in this period was primarily through Conversos. As we traveled through the Jewish historic sites of Spain, we investigated any further connections of Jews with chocolate in Madrid, Astorga, Valencia and Barcelona.
We learned that in Spain there’s a route for just about everything—a silver route, the Camino del Santiago de Compestela, the El Cid Road but surprisingly not yet a chocolate route. So this report attempts to compensate for that “deficiency.” This is the chocolate route we created in Spain and Southwest France in June and July, 2007. Rabbi Prinz & Rabbi Hurvitz Tour Spain in Search of Jews and Chocolate.
Choco-dar first erupted on our multi-country circuit of Europe in a VW van. That adult onset, self-diagnosed radar for chocolate experiences led us serendipitously to many wonderful chocolate discoveries and surprises. In the process I learned some chocolate travel tips. Chocolate travel generated the book and the website that I came to call On theRead more ›
Mothers and Survival by Chocolate
On the Chocolate Trail, I found amazing stories of mothers and chocolate from World War II. Immigrant Lisa Hoffman reminisced about how her mother insured she had the skills, including chocolate making, to survive. “I carried inside of me all of the lessons my mother had worked so hard to get for me. I could makeRead more ›
Chocolate Trail Broadens: “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” Travels
I am very excited that the NYCs Bernard Museum exhibit, “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” based on my book, On the Chocolate Trail, will now be forging new paths as it travels around the country. We selected On the Chocolate Trail as the book title for a number of reasons. First, it evokes the diffusion ofRead more ›
Talking Chocolate in February
Recent media featured projects on the chocolate trail in celebration of Valentine’s Day and “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” at the Bernard Museum, NYC. Of course, Florence Fabricant’s mention of the exhibit in the New York Times was a highlight. Now, these stories just within the last two weeks: In The Jewish Love AffairRead more ›
Some Previous Posts
(in alphabetical order)
- Announcing Second Edition: On the Chocolate Trail
- Bat Mitzvah Wants Fair Trade Israeli Chocolate
- Book Optioned: Museum Exhibit
- Chocolate Exhibit Hits the New York Times
- Chocolate Expo
- Chocolate Made My Lunch: Nashville
- Chocolate, Coffee, Tea and Me
- Election 2016: Winning Fudge Brigadeiros
- Hunting for Chocolate: Fancy Food Show, NYC, 2016
- Labor Day in our Chocolate
- Local Chocolate in the South
- No End to Chocolate Exhibits Part III: Visits #3, 4 & 5
- Of Chocolate Exhibits There is No End: Part 2
- On the Chocolate Trail in Brooklyn
- Seriously Tasting Chocolate
- Super Food Chocolate for Super Bowl Sunday: Three Recipes
- That Time Jews Smuggled Chocolate to France — and a Recipe for Basque Chocolate Cake
- Warm Up: 3 Historical Drinking Chocolate Recipes