Not only do many of us love chocolate, it\u2019s also a favorite way for many to say, \u201cI love you.\u201d\r\n\r\nBut its history isn\u2019t all sweet.\r\n\r\nIn fact, chocolate started out as a savory ingredient. Cacao beans, the base of today\u2019s confection, are from modern-day Central and South America, where they were originally fermented into a bitter beverage mixed with chiles.\r\n\r\nThe crop was culturally and economically valuable. Cacao seeds were so important to the Mayans and Aztecs that they were used as currency.\r\n\r\nThe Colonial era brought global appetites to chocolate. However, with them came extensive damage to coffee-producing people and regions that began with Hernan Cortes\u2019 violent takeover of the Aztec empire and included the transatlantic slave trade.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhen chocolate reached European shores, consumers added sugar, cocoa butter and milk to create the modern treat. Access was limited to the rich until the late 1700s, when the steam engine, cutting-edge technology at the time, made it possible to produce chocolate quickly and in high quantity.\r\n\r\nAccessibility brought new fans. Abigail Adams reportedly enjoyed drinking chocolate on a trip to London in 1785, and Benjamin Franklin sold it in his Philadelphia print shop.\r\n\r\nInnovations continued as popularity grew. \u201cIn 1847, Joseph Fry, an English doctor who heralded cocoa as a healthy alternative to alcohol, blended cocoa powder with cocoa butter and sugar, molded the paste into small blocks, and\u2014 voil\u00e0!\u2014the chocolate bar was born,\u201d writes Simran Sethi, the author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate.\r\n\r\nOne century later, U.S. soldiers received chocolate as part of their rations during World War II. Today, Americans eat 100 pounds of chocolate per second. Scientists report cocoa causes the brain to release several chemical compounds that trigger happiness.\r\n\r\n\r\nHow to Pair Chocolate with Wine\r\nIn its sweet form, chocolate is a perfect match with flavors that range from citrus to nutty and minty.\r\n\r\nMarcus Gausepohl, wine director at Brennan\u2019s of Houston, suggests \u201cruling out dry wine unless your cacao content is 75% or greater.\u201d\r\n\r\nHe recommends Brachetto d\u2019Acqui, a sweet, sparkling red wine from Italy's Piedmont, to go with milk chocolate or chocolate ice cream.\r\n\r\nFor dark chocolate, Gausepohl prefers Pedro Xim\u00e9nez Sherry, which offers rich notes of fig and spice that he says \u201chelp tame the intensity of the chocolate.\u201d\r\n\r\nWith savory chicken or pork with mole sauce, Gausepohl recommends a classic Riesling Auslese from the Mosel, which will \u201clet the flavors stand on their own without covering them up,\u201d he says. Mole is exceedingly complicated, after all\u2014much like chocolate itself.