For this week, Gerome has decided to highlight the book, Chocolata Inda: Opusculum de Qualitate & Natura Chocolatae (1644) by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma.
This rare, early book on chocolate was purchased through the Maynard Amerine endowment to celebrate the groundbreaking on June 23, 2005 of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine. The volume features an engraving of a Native American representing the New World presenting chocolate to the Old World represented by Neptune. First published in Spanish in Madrid in 1631, this is the first Latin translation. It is also bound with, Johann Georg Volkamer’s Opobalsami orientalis in theriaces confectionem Romae revocati examen (Nuremberg, 1644), a very interesting text on balms and pulmonary medicine. The author was a physician and the chocolate text discusses the therapeutic and health invigorating aspects of chocolate and includes a recipe. In view of the two works that are bound together, a physician probably also owned the volume.