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Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate

Of the few foods in the world that have been the subject of entire cookbooks, novels and films, chocolate takes the cake. According to The International Cocoa Organization, chocolate was discovered 500 years ago in South America by the Spanish and was originally referred to as "the food of the gods." Since then, it has become one of the world's most popular confections.

For some, chocolate can be an obsession or an addiction. If you're a chocoholic looking for some creative ways to get a quick fix, here are some resources and ideas.

Whip Something Up

For those who are adventurous in the kitchen, try cooking a chocolate treat.

  • Chocolate Cuisine
    This site boasts more than 426 recipes in 29 different categories, with new recipes added daily. Some of the more unusual dishes include entrees such as Chicken in Chocolate Sauce and Thick and Spicy Chili (with cocoa powder, of course!).

  • Godiva
    Search for recipes for breads, brownies, cakes, tortes, candies, cheesecakes, cookies, drinks, ice creams, mousses and soufflés.

  • Chocolate Recipes
    This site also includes a section on the history of chocolate, as well as information on the making of chocolate and different chocolate varieties.

  • Just Chocolate Recipes
    A huge database of chocolate recipes from a myriad of sources.

  • Chocoholic.com
    In addition to selling premium chocolate, this site has an extensive recipe section.
Educate Yourself

If you're interested in feeding your mind with some chocolate-laced knowledge, there are a number of places to find information.

  • Sweet Lovin': Love, Sex, and Chocolate
    Provided by Canadian radio's CBC News, this online guide to truth and rumors about the dark confection offers a detailed history of chocolate, as well as information on the science behind chocolate production.

  • The Sweet Lure of Chocolate
    Among other topics, The Exploratorium magazine's online edition explores the possible health effects of chocolate, as well as the controversial question of the effect chocolate can have on moods.

  • ChocolateValley.com
    Whether it's information on the ancient origins of chocolate, a chocolate glossary or an explanation as to why chocolate can be harmful to pets, you'll find the information here.
Take a Chocolate Trip

For vacationers desperate for a unique chocolate fix, there's always "The Sweetest Place on Earth," the city of Hershey. This town in central Pennsylvania is chock full of chocolate-themed attractions.

  • Hershey's Chocolate World
    At the official visitor's center of Hershey Foods Corporation, visitors can learn more about the process of chocolate manufacturing on a simulated factory tour ride.

  • Hershey Park
    An amusement park with more than 60 rides and attractions.
If you can't make the trip to the town, you can still check out Hershey's Kitchens for recipes from the nation's leading manufacturer of confectionery products.

Unusual Chocolate Fixes

If you're looking for a really creative way to cure your chocolate craving, visit CocoaJava for a great page of links to sites featuring exotic and unusual chocolate items. Learn how to make a chocolate pudding candle, or find out where you can purchase chocolate soap, chocolate greeting cards, chocolate perfume and even chocolate clothing.

Martha Bond, owner of Li-Lac Chocolates, a Manhattan shop that sells homemade mocha truffles, maple walnut fudge and chocolate cream rolls, says a cup of hot chocolate is good for a quick fix. "Or you can always come to Li-Lac Chocolates!" she adds.

For literary folk, a good book to curl up with while you're sipping your hot chocolate might be just the trick. For children and young adults, there's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl, while adults can enjoy popular novels such as Laura Esquivel's "Like Water for Chocolate" or Joanne Harris's "Chocolat."

   --- A. Harris

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