Revista de Estudios Sociales
Print version ISSN 0123-885X
NORTON, Marcy. Tasting Empire: Chocolate and the European Internalization of Mesoamerican Aesthetics. rev.estud.soc. [online]. 2008, n.29, pp. 42-69. ISSN 0123-885X.
This article offers a new interpretation of how and why Europeans developed a taste for chocolate. While previous studies have suggested that Europeans transformed chocolate materially and ideologically in order to make it fit their existing set of tastes and prejudices, it is demonstrated that Europeans learned to like chocolate on Indian terms as a result of their status as cultural minorities in colonial Mesoamerica. In addition this article uses the historical case study of chocolate's transcultural migration to revise current models of taste used in historical and anthropological literature. It rejects biologicalessentialism and culturalfunctionalism and instead shows that taste is an independent historical variable affected by social circumstances.
Keywords : Chocolate; cacao; taste; consumption; Atlantic history; imperialism.