Book Sharing by Ms Choi Yan Yan Cecilia
10th May 2022
Title: The Knowledge Triffic Chocolate
Author: Alan MacDonald
Library Code: 900
Good Morning, Principal, fellow teachers and students. I am Ms Choi. It is my pleasure to speak to you here in the morning assembly about a book that I have recently read. The book title is The knowledge, Triffic Chocolate written by Alan MacDonald. The writer may want to use ‘terrific’ for ‘triffic’. I am a chocolate lover and hence the book was eye-catching when I was in the library last week.
The book gave us the history of how chocolate was discovered and how it became popular. Many of you are fond of chocolate. We always have the impression that chocolate is from Switzerland, Belgium or America. Yes, it is true that we have some good chocolates from these countries in modern times. But when and where did chocolate start? It started in Central America (near modern day Mexico). An ethnic group called Mayan Indians established cocoa plantations in AD 600. A few hundred years later, the Mayan Indians were conquered by the Aztecs. The Aztec Empire was very famous but later it was destroyed by the Spanish. In Central America, there were the cocoa beans and Christopher Columbus, the explorer who discovered the New World of America, took the cocoa beans from the Aztec Empire back to Spain. In Aztec Empire, cocoa beans were precious and used as money. Only men were allowed to drink it. Women could not. The Aztecs did not have any chocolate bars, they added water into cocoa beans and called it xocoatl, which means bitter water. This drink, xocoatl, was served cold and it was spicy bitter since there were hot chilli peppers in it.
It was from Spain that cocoa beans gradually spread across Europe to France, England, Germany and Switzerland. Cocoa beans were considered a luxury commodity. Only the nobles could afford to drink a cup of cocoa bean liquid. The drink was still bitter. It was a Swiss man who added milk and mixed it with cocoa beans, which made chocolate tastier. Chocolate was revolutionized significantly in the 19th century. In 1876, Daniel Peter in Switzerland experimented with condensed milk supplied by Henri Nestle. This was the first milk chocolate. In 1900, American Milton Hershey built his chocolate factory in Pennsylvania now there is a chocolate town in the state. Chocolate was mass produced.
The book also included some chocolate big names like Mars, Cadbury, Lindt and Maltesers. These big chocolate companies improved the quality of the chocolate and boosted its mass production in the 19th century and even now you can still hear their names.
Recently, a group of Chinese explorers successfully climbed the Mount Everest. Chocolate is very necessary for explorers to climb mountains since it gives them energy quickly. Do you know how explorers throughout the world have rated the chocolate bars? The highest score is a brand called “The Fuse” (I am not sure if you have seen it in the Hong Kong supermarkets). They gave “The Fuse” 9 out of 10, saying that it has ‘superb taste whether hot or cold. They best energy per bar for its weight.’ The middle score is “Picnic”, 5 out of 10, saying it was ‘good, [it] has an unusually high energy content.’ The lowest one is a brand many of you know well, it is “Kit Kat”. They gave only 1 mark out of 10. The explorers saying it was ‘too bland, especially if the bar gets cold. Not filling enough and not portable[,]- [it] breaks in pocket.’(p.126)
Of course, those scores were made by explorers, not you and me. We all have different standards of chocolate that we like. For chocolate lovers like you and me, we can learn two English words from this book, ‘chocoholics’ and ‘moreish’. Chocoholics are people who like chocolate very much and perhaps they are addicted to eating chocolate. Moreish is a word that means delicious or yummy. When you want to say some food that has a pleasant taste and make you want to eat more, you can say moreish. It spells ‘M-O-R-E-I-S-H’.
Boys and girls, if you are chocoholics, we can discuss which chocolate is moreish when we meet on campus. Thank you.