The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

    Chocolate brings fresh taste to culture exploration

    By Zaman Fabela/reporter

    South Campus students tasted the History of Chocolate Oct. 6.Cacao, a seed originally cultivated by the Mayans and Aztecs in Central America, is the source of chocolate, said Carlos Rovelo, history/government instructor, during his presentation for Hispanic History Month.

    Despite most of today’s sweets claiming to be chocolate, it is mostly sugar and less of cacao, he said.

    Chocolate is associated with Europe, but Rovelo said it’s actually associated with the Mayans. Cacao seed was not only edible and drinkable but also a currency to the Mayans. Rovelo said cacao was also used to represent numbers. One dot would mean one cacao, one line would be five cacao beans and an empty cacao plant meant zero.

    “Money grew on trees,” he said. “It is too bad you cannot eat the $100 bill.”

    Chocolate was used as a beverage to fight fatigue and as an oil to reduce skin blemishes, Rovelo said.

    Armando Villarreal, history associate professor, brought his class to the presentation. He said his grandparents called the process of making chocolate an artistic skill and remembered it as a competition of families to see who could do it better. They would call it “drawing.”

    But times change, and cultural traditions are lost, Rovelo said.

    “You would go to a Taco Cabana, and they would do tortillas with a machine,” he said.

    Villarreal said remembering those traditions is important.

    “It’s all cultural,” he said. “When you don’t pay attention to your culture, it’s going to be lost.”

    Rovelo said the future depends on knowledge of one’s heritage.

    “That’s how you evolve culture. You pass it,” he said. “Winston Churchill once said, ‘The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.’”

    Audience members didn’t have to just hear about chocolate. They also got to taste it. A variety of chocolates were laid out on two tables. The selections included chocolate almonds, raisins, pecans, espresso and tiramisu, an Italian chocolate with a gushing flavor of milk and vanilla inside.

    Academic advisor Carl Scherrieb, who attended the presentation, said he enjoys celebrating other cultures and experiencing foods that have particular meaning.

    “I enjoyed the bitter chocolate the most,” he said.

    Student Jeannette Vasquez said the 80 percent cacao with vanilla was her favorite.

    “Anything will taste better with chocolate,” Rovelo said.

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