The Secret Life of Chocolate by Marcos Patchett

Marcus is a Medical Herbalist who practices in North London, but he has an interest in many things including, pharmacology, astrology and of course all things plants. Chocolate is a topic close to many hearts, and is especially welcome when celebrations are here, or we need comfort. We know it affects us emotionally and physically, but in this thick, hard back volume (how I like my chocolate too) we get the details and wow there are a lot.

The book focuses on the historic, pre-Columbian ancient forms of chocolate rather than the modern 19th century form and includes both the mythological and pharmacological roots.

Part one focuses on a Potted History and Bodies of Chocolate, while Part two is the larger section of the book, which delves into the medicinal side. This includes; The chocolate apothecary, Pharmaceutical chocolate, Chocolate, love and bondage, Associates and accomplices, with more love and bondage and finally Chocolate formulary.

The recipes are not what one expects from a recipe book on the subject, but are traditional, authentic recipes from areas in the world where it’s grown. Many are beverages made with water rather than milk. Interestingly, the countries involved in growing and using chocolate only use it a little for medicine these days, especially for migraine. There is a lot of folklore surrounding the subject and traditions, but today it seems to be the flowers and leaves that are mainly used.

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