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The Insightfull History of the Women of Chocolate

200 pages
Libros Publishing LLC
In this magnificently researched and illustrated book, international award-winning author Connie Spenuzza masterfully explores the cultural history of the women within the world of chocolate. As a child, Spenuzza frolicked in her family's pristine equatorial rainforest cacao plantations, not yet knowing the intricacies of culture and history that surrounded women's roles in an industry as luscious as chocolate. But these early years piqued her curiosity and spurred decades of extensive travel that would take Spenuzza to places such as the archaeological sites of Mesoamerica, where chocolate reached its apex as a ritual beverage. Armed with a novelist's eye for human frailties and an investigator's nose for hidden truths, Spenuzza exquisitely guides you on the illuminating journey across the globe to uncover the 5,300-year-old history of the women who dedicated their lives to the world's most coveted indulgence. The allure of chocolate started 5,300 years in the Amazon River Basin of Ecuador with the drink of the gods, Theobroma cacao. During the Spanish colonial period of the Americas, the commerce of cacao was a guarded goldmine, as it sailed back to Europe on the trade winds known as the vientos chocolateros. Convent nuns of the Americas and Europe prepared a chocolate drink, and through their ingenuity, they created the first chocolate confections that stimulated the senses. Even the royal houses of Europe fell under the spell of chocolate when arrogant Spanish royal brides insisted on having the sinful delicacy within their courts. The sheer pleasure of a sip or even one bite intoxicated men to the point that they believed chocolate was some type of sorcery, a power that women possessed over them. This European chocolate mania led to a nefarious period for the confection. Due to an increased demand for its production in the Caribbean, the enslaved were forced to work in heinous conditions on the European-owned plantations. Soon piracy, contraband, theft, pyres of the Spanish Inquisition, and the draconian English laws punished female chocolatiers severely. This book [CD1] takes you on a stunning, surprising, and moving tour of historic turning points in chocolate's history, introducing you to the many women who toiled for this luxurious confection, such as chocolate entrepreneurs Mary Tuke, the tenacious British Quaker, and Luisa Spagnoli, the passionate Italian chocolatier. Follow Spenuzza as she deftly guides you through this poignant bite of history and walks in the powerful steps of those women who sacrificed so much for the love of chocolate.
Author Bio
Connie Spenuzza M.S. Ed., received First Place from the International Latino Book Awards for her novels Lucia Zárate (2017), Missing in Machu Picchu (2013) and Traces of Bliss (2012). Her travel memoir Jubilant Journeys (2019) was awarded Second Place, following first place winner and Nobel Peace Prize nominee José Andrés. The Association of American Publishers and the Las Comadres International organization selected her novels to the National Latino Book Club. In 2017, Foreword Reviews selected Lucía Zárate as Indie Book Finalist, Parisian Promises (2014) was the runner-up for the Paris Book Award and Gathering the Indigo Maidens (2011) was a finalist for the Mariposa Award. Her children’s bilingual fables: Olinguito Speaks Up was endorsed by the Smithsonian Institution, Lalo Loves to Help, and Howl of the Mission Owl have received numerous awards. Her pen name for the works above is Cecilia Velástegui. Her 2021 art history book: Spanish Colonial Paintings Paired with European Engravings, debuted with an immersive multimedia exhibit at the California landmark Mission San Juan Capistrano. Connie was born in Ecuador and raised in California and France. She received her graduate degree from the University of Southern California, speaks four languages, and has traveled to 127 countries. Connie donates the proceeds from the sale of her books to the fight against human trafficking. She lives in Dana Point, California.