On March 26 we will host the launch of this incredible new book on the undiscovered parts of chocolate history "The Secret Life of Chocolate" by author Marcus Patchett.
The Secret Life of Chocolate is a book about chocolate. Not the sweet, mass-produced fatty confection most of us are familiar with, though. TSLOC is about old-school chocolate; pre-Colombian, Central American, bitter-spicy-foamy-intense blow-your-socks-off chocolate. Chocolate beverages made with toasted cocoa beans, water, and indigenous plants.
Today there are many different forms of drinking chocolate in Latin America, most of which reflect European (Spanish) influence, incorporating sugar, cinnamon, and milk. This book peels back the years of cultural cross-pollination to anatomize the original Cacao-based beverages, which were richer, more complex, more potent, and darker (in every sense) than modern forms of chocolate. TSLOC delves into the ancient history of the human relationship with the cocoa tree, Theobroma cacao; it dissects the pharmacological properties of chocolate to the fullest possible extent, and it divulges the mythical and magical associations of human interactions with this incredible plant.
The product of fourteen years' research, including literature reviews, field investigations in Mexico and Guatemala, and hands-on experimentation with ingredients and recipes, TSLOC is a comprehensive exploration of chocolate's ancient roots. In addition to presenting new historical, scientific and anthropological hypotheses about Cacao and chocolate, contemporary Cacao-based drinks recipes and pre-Colombian Mesoamerican beverages are reproduced or reconstructed in the formulary (chapter eight). Extensive Appendices include an in-depth monograph on Theobroma cacao, mini-monographs on its native Mesoamerican admixture plants and spices, and selected interviews with some of the cooks, curanderos, farmers and teachers who work with this remarkable plant.
Marcos is a practising medical herbalist, astrologer, and science-loving atypical hippie. He graduated from Middlesex University’s Herbal Medicine BSc course with first degree honours and the Elsevier science prize for plant pharmacology in 2005. He worked as a medical herbalist in King’s Cross for several years, specialising in complementary care for people living with HIV, and practiced from Neal’s Yard remedies’ Therapy Rooms in Covent Garden and Notting Hill. He worked as a dispenser in Middlesex University’s Archway training clinic, and later went on to become the clinical supervisor for the Western Herbal medicine BSc and MSc courses at Middlesex University’s Integrative Medicine training clinic in Hendon. Marcos is also an enthusiastic student of Renaissance and Medieval astrology, and is frequently invited to give talks on contemporary herbal medicine and traditional medical astrology internationally. Marcos lives and works in London, and currently practices from home, because the commute’s easy and the management is extremely relaxed.
Date: 26 March
Time: 17:30 - 21:00