Title : CIOCCOLATA SQUISITA GENTILEZZA
Catalogue of the homonymous exhibition
March 5 – April 10, 2005
Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze
Curator: Piero Scapecchi
Release: March 2005
After Figurare la parola, another rich and original illustrated catalogue accompanies the homonymous exhibition held at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (March 5 – April 10, 2005). The book traces back the history of chocolate from the first news of cocoa up to the spread of the beverage, that is between the XVI and XVIII centuries. Chocolate thus enters a material history that implicates diverse aspects of culture, theology, science, literature and art. These aspects reassemble to form a heritage of culture and traditions that is also fundamental for our daily lives, at a time in which the “beverage of the gods” is reaping success for product quality, on the economic market, and in the passion of its many admirers. As the chocolate we drink today is quite different from that discovered centuries ago, thanks to the new production techniques introduced in the XIX century and gradually perfected, the authors decided to rediscover and trace back its origins and the history of its transformations. Towards this end, they departed from the consideration that the new goods and products arriving from the New World aboard Spanish ships, from the years after its discovery and the military expedition of Hernan Cortez, forcefully struck the order of knowledge and the public imagination of Europe, changing its course forever. Thus the knowledge of new plants spread and cocoa was among these, next to corn, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, peppers, sunflowers, pineapples and vanilla, while coca, china, tobacco and cocoa too, assumed pharmaceutical uses.