Dr. Edward Smith, LL.B., F.R.S., in his valuable work on "Foods," for the International Scientific Series, says: "These well-known substances (cocoa and chocolate) are valuable foods, since they are not only allied to tea and coffee as respiratory excitants, but possess a large quantity of fat and other food materials. . . .
"The following is the analysis of the cocoa-bean, from various localities, by Tuchen: -
Theobromine, per. ct
Cocoa, red . .
Cocoa-butter . .
Gum . .
Humic acid . .
Cellulose . . .
"This substance," he goes on to say, "in its action is less exciting to the nervous system than tea or coffee, and at the same time it contains a much larger proportion of nutritive material. Moreover, its flavor is not lessened by the addition of milk, so that it can be boiled in milk only, and thus produce a most agreeable and nutritious food. There are, therefore, many persons, states of system and circumstances, in which its use is to be preferred to either tea or coffee."
A writer in Blackwood's Magazine (1854, V. 75) says : "Of all the varieties of ordinary human food cocoa has the closest resemblance to milk;" and he gives the following analyses of dried milk and the dried kernel of the cocoa-bean: -
Gluten or Caseine
. l8 .
Starch or Sugar .
. 23 .
• 55 .
Mineral matter . .
. 4 .
"These numbers show," he says, "that the bean is rich in all the important nutritious principles which are found to coexist in our most valued forms of ordinary food. It differs from milk chiefly in the larger proportion of fat it contains, and hence it cannot be used so largely without admixture as the more familiar milk. When mixed with water, however, it is more properly compared with milk than with the infusions of little direct nutritive value, like those of tea and coffee; and, on the other hand, it has the great advantage over milk, over beef-tea, and other similar beverages, that it contains the substance theobromine and the volatile empyrematic oil, - both possessed of very valuable properties. Thus it unites in itself the exhilarating and other special qualities which distinguish tea, with the strengthening and ordinary body-supporting qualities of milk."
Brillat-Savarin, from whose work we have already quoted, says: "Chocolate has given rise to profound dissertations, whose object has been to determine its nature and properties, and to place it in the category of hot, cold, or temperate foods; and it must be confessed that these learned writings have contributed but very slightly to the demonstration of the truth.
"But it was left for those two great masters, time and experience, to decide that chocolate, carefully prepared, is an article of food as wholesome as it is agreeable; that it is nourishing, easy of digestion, and does not possess those qualities injurious to beauty with which coffee has been reproached; that it is excellently adapted to persons who are obliged to a great concentration of intellect in the toils of the pulpit or the bar, and especially to travellers; that it suits the most feeble stomach; that excellent effects have been produced by it in chronic complaints, and that it is a last resource in affections of the pylorus.
" he various properties are due to the fact that, chocolate being, strictly speaking, only an elasosaccharum (oil of sugar), there are few substances which contain in an equal volume more nourishing particles, - the consequence being that it is almost entirely assimilated.
" During the war (of the Spanish Succession) cocoa was scarce, and very dear. It was attempted to find a substitute, but all efforts were in vain; and one of the greatest benefits of the peace was the relieving us of the various brews, which it was necessary to taste out of politeness, but which were no more like chocolate than the infusion of chiccory was like Mocha coffee.
"Some persons complain of being unable to digest chocolate ; others, on the contrary, pretend that it has not sufficient nourishment, and that the effect disappears too soon. It is probable that the former have only themselves to blame, and that the chocolate which they use is of bad quality or badly made; for good and well-made chocolate must suit every stomach which retains the slightest digestive power.
""In regard to the others the remedy is an easy one; they should reenforce their breakfast with a pate, a cutlet, or a kidney; moisten the whole with a good draught of soconusco chocolate, and thank God for a stomach of such superior activity.
"This gives me an opportunity to make an observation whose accuracy may be depended upon.
"After a good, complete and copious breakfast, if we take in addition a cup of well-made chocolate, digestion will be perfectly accomplished in three hours, and we may dine whenever we like. Out of zeal for science, and by dint of eloquence, I have induced many ladies to try this experiment. They all declared, in the beginning, that it would kill them; but they have all thriven on it, and have not failed to glorify their teacher.
"The people who make constant use of chocolate are the ones who enjoy the most steady health, and are the least subject to a multitude of little ailments which destroy the comfort of life; their plumpness is also more equal. These are two advantages which every one may verify among his own friends, and wherever the practice is in use.
"This is the place to speak of the properties of chocolate with amber, - properties which I have proved with many experiments, and the results of which I am proud to offer to my readers.
"Let every man, then, who has drunk too deep of the cup of pleasure; every man who has spent in work the time which should be devoted to sleep; every man of wit who feels himself temporarily growing stupid; every man who finds the air damp, the time long, and the atmosphere difficult to endure; every man who is tormented with a fixed idea which takes away from him the liberty of thought, - let all these, I say, administer to themselves a good half-litre of amber chocolate, in the proportion of sixty or seventy grains of amber to the pound, and they will see wonders.