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A Dark History of Chocolate (Hardback)

British History P&S History Social History

By Emma Kay
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Series: A Dark History
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 20 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526768308
Published: 30th September 2021

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£15.99 Introductory Offer

RRP £19.99

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A Dark History of Chocolate looks at our long relationship with this ancient ‘food of the Gods’. The book examines the impact of the cocoa bean trade on the economies of Britain and the rest of Europe, as well as its influence on health, cultural and social trends over the centuries. Renowned food historian Emma Kay takes a look behind the façade of chocolate – first as a hot drink and then as a sweet – delving into the murky and mysterious aspects of its phenomenal global growth, from a much-prized hot beverage in pre-Colombian Central America to becoming an integral part of the cultural fabric of modern life.

From the seductive corridors of Versailles, serial killers, witchcraft, medicine and war to its manufacturers, the street sellers, criminal gangs, explorers and the arts, chocolate has played a significant role in some of the world’s deadliest and gruesome histories.

If you thought chocolate was all Easter bunnies, romance and gratuity, then you only know half the story. This most ancient of foods has a heritage rooted in exploitation, temptation and mystery.

With the power to be both life-giving and ruinous.

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About Emma Kay

Emma is a post-graduate historian and former senior museum worker. Now, food historian, author and prolific collector of Kitchenalia. She lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and young son. Her articles have appeared in publications including BBC History MagazineThe Daily ExpressDaily Mail and Times Literary Supplement. She has contributed historic food research for a number of television production companies and featured several times on Talk Radio Europe, BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester, BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Radio Humberside and LifeFM. 


In 2020 Emma presented a feature on Roman food and cooking for new Channel 5 series Walking Britain's Roman Roads.


At the end of 2019 Emma was filmed for several episodes of a new Channel 5 series, Britain's Battlefields.


In 2018 she appeared in a ten-part series for the BBC and Hungry Gap Productions, The Best Christmas Food Ever and on BBC Countryfile, co-presenting a feature exploring the heritage of the black pear.


She has delivered talks and food demos for Bath Literature Festival, Stroud Book Festival, Wakefield Rhubarb Festival, 1 Royal Crescent, Bath, The Women's Institute and Freckleton Library among others.


Emma has had six books published including: Dining with the Georgians (Amberley Publishing, 2014), Dining with the Victorians (Amberley Publishing, 2015), Cooking up History: Chefs of the Past (Prospect Books, 2017), Vintage Kitchenalia (Amberley Publishing, 2017), More than a Sauce: A Culinary History of Worcestershire (Amberley Publishing, 2018), Stinking Bishops and Spotty Pigs: A History of Gloucestershire's Food and Drink (Amberley Publishing, 2019). 


Her latest book A History of British Baking with Pen & Sword Books is due for publication in the Autumn of 2020, with a book on Lancashire's Food and Drink for Amberley Publishing, scheduled the end of 2020.


Emma is a member of The Guild of Food Writers.

Perfect Partner

A Dark History of Tea (Hardback)

A Dark History of Tea looks at our long relationship with this most revered of hot beverages. Renowned food historian Seren Charrington-Hollins digs into the history of one of the world’s oldest beverages, tracing tea's significance on the tables of the high and mighty as well as providing relief for workers who had to contend with the ardours of manual labour. This humble herbal infusion has been used in burial rituals, as a dowry payment for aristocrats; it has fuelled wars and spelled fortunes as it built empires and sipped itself into being an integral part of the cultural fabric of British…

By Seren Charrington-Hollins

Click here to buy both titles for £35.98
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