On Chocolate and Lost Luggage

By Patricia B. Mitchell, 1990.

Patricia and Sarah Mitchell

Patricia Mitchell and her daughter Sarah pause near Parliament and the Tower of Big Ben on their expedition to purchase Cadbury chocolates in London, July 3, 1982.

A few years ago when my family and I were planning a trip to England and France, Randall Cash, a former Danville, Virginia resident and friend of ours, asked us to bring back from England some Cadbury chocolate bars for him.

He had lived in London while working on his doctoral dissertation and had become “spoiled for” English Cadbury chocolate, which he explained did not have paraffin in it to keep it from melting so easily. Cadbury Chocolate sold stateside where is it thought to be generally warmer — at least in the British mind — contains the wax. Randall prefers the English recipe.

Cadbury Chocolates

Examples of Cadbury's in the U.S., 2006.

We purchased several bags of the chocolate before leaving London for Paris and I packed them in my suitcase — all very well and good except that my Hartmann Hobo was lost en route and evidently took a world tour before eventually showing up again in Chatham after six weeks. During its absence I wore my mom's clothes in Paris (right size, wrong colors) and wondered if I'd ever see my nice suits, etc. again. I also worried about that meltable chocolate.

When the suitcase did reappear, scarred and battered but intact, I opened it with trepidation. Hallelujah, the candy bars, in a plastic bag, had flattened out somewhat but the soft chocolate had not oozed out of the wrappers! I was happy; TWA and British Caledonian airlines were happy; Randall was happy!

Chocolate itself contains an alkaloid theobromide which raises the spirits. It also contains caffeine and fat. (For a healthful alternative, choose sweet, delicious, high-fiber, no-fat carob.)

Chocolate has been treasured for centuries, some esteeming it as an aphrodisiac (chocolate is for lovers?). Originally cacao trees grew in South and Central America, where the Indians valued the beans, using them as money and for making a beverage.

Hernando Cortez noted that the aristocrats of Tenochtitlan drank a foamy beverage made from ground cacao beans, vanilla, and red pepper, chilled with snow from the Sierras. In 1528 Cortez took some cacao beans to Spain. Gradually the use of ground cacao beans spread throughout Europe and to the United States, where the average American now eats 11 pounds of chocolate yearly. Hershey produces 30 million kisses a day to help satisfy the American craving for irresistible chocolate.

Have you had a kiss today?


A Baker's Chocolate advertisement from Fannie Merritt Farmer, The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, 1896.