book hack

The True History of Chocolate

Sophie D. Coe, Michael D. Coe

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

This 1996 exploration of the world's favorite treat tracks its journey from the discovery of the cacao plant 3,000 years ago to the modern versions of chocolate that we all know and love.


The True History of Chocolate

The True History of Chocolate

by Sophie D. Coe


When we think of chocolate, it brings to mind sweet, smooth bars lined up in the grocery store. But for centuries, chocolate wasn't sweet, and for most of its long history, it only came in the form of a drink. Cacao has been revered since its discovery. It was so valuable that it was only enjoyed by society's cultural and financial elites for most of its existence. The scientific genus of the cacao plant, 'Theobroma,' is Greek for 'food of the gods.'

Sophie Coe was an anthropologist and food historian, while her husband and co-writer Michael Coe was an archaeologist and anthropologist whose work focused on Mesoamerica. In The True History of Chocolate, the authors take us back to the origin of the cacao bean and chart its journey through to the modern chocolate bar.

Favorite quote

Chocolate, well known, is an invention so noble, that it should be the nourishment of the gods.

- Joseph Bachot, Parisian physician

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