Jewish Journal


May 25, 2013

Tantalizing Tidbits about Jews and Chocolate



Goldarbeiter Chocolate, Vienna, Early 20th century

1.  The idea that Jews brought chocolate making to France pervades the French chocolate center, Bayonne.

2.  In the eighteenth century, Jews were considered to be specialists in chocolate making in Amsterdam, Martinique and other locales.

3.  Non-Jewish, American folk-singer Woody Guthrie wrote a song about Chanukah gelt.

4.  North American Jewish Colonial traders, including Aaron Lopez and members of the Gomez family, were involved in the trade, manufacture, and retail of chocolate. Rebecca Gomez may have been the only woman of her day making chocolate.

5.  The popular Israeli chocolate company, Max Brenner, is owned by the Israeli food conglomerate Elite Strauss.

6.  Jewish values such as oshek (honest and fair labor practices) and bal taschit (saving that which has potential for future use) are considerations when selecting chocolate.

7.  We could add chocolate into more of our Jewish rituals and celebrations.

8.  It is very difficult to buy an over the counter mold for Chanukah gelt.

9.  Within the last twenty years, there were at least five Jews making artisanal chocolate in the San Francisco area.

10. Jews have been active on the chocolate trail since it was discovered by Europeans.

What would you add to this list?

More information may be found in On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao, now in its second printing by Jewish Lights Publishing.

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