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A Sweet History Lesson From Mars

New book celebrates the world’s most beloved treat through the ages


Who doesn’t love chocolate? According to Great Moments in Chocolate History, the answer is everyone from the ancient Aztecs to Marie Antoinette to George Washington enjoyed the delicious treat in their time.

The history of chocolate is a fascinating tale of pioneers and innovation, science and religion, agriculture and culinary arts. And in a new book authored by Mars’ own resident chocolate expert Howard Yana-Shapiro and released this week, it receives a proper telling.

Great Moments in Chocolate History - published by Mars Incorporated in partnership with the National Geographic Society – includes contributions from 45 authors, including researchers, chefs, food scientists and historians from leading institutions. It also gives chocolate lovers the chance to try out 20 delicious recipes—including a few that call for Mars’ American Heritage Chocolate-- while learning about their historical significance.

Howard, Chief Agricultural Officer at Mars Incorporated, said that the book focuses on the amazing history of one of the world’s favorite foods: “The appeal of chocolate has always crossed the boundaries of time, culture, socio-economic groups, gender and generation. This book brings the story of chocolate to life.”

Chocolate Through The Ages – Five Fantastic Facts:

  • The scientific name for the tree that gives us chocolate is Theobroma cacao, which means "food of the gods.” Who are we to argue?
  • Christopher Columbus’s claim to fame may be that he “discovered” America, but he is also responsible for a lesser known achievement: he took the first known sample of cacao beans to Europe after coming across them in Honduras.
  • Henry Stubbe, a doctor serving England’s King Charles II, wrote in 1662 that chocolate could treat apoplexy as well as “hypochondriac melancholy.”
  • Frank and Forrest Mars’ first big candy hit was the Milky Way bar, which became the first-ever mass-produced, filled chocolate bar. Most people assume the candy was named after the celestial galaxy, but in fact it was named for the popular malted milkshake dessert.
  • M&M’s are an official part of the NASA space food system and are enjoyed by the astronauts living on the International Space Station.


Get more tasty chocolate history here.

Buy the book here.