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Mural of the cacao women vendors in ancient "Mesoamerica" by Diego Rivera

Featured Article

Chocolate Runs Through My Veins

Local Novelist Connie Spenuzza Pens Insightful History of Women and Chocolate

Women and chocolate just seem to go together. That might explain why studies show women have a stronger craving for chocolate than men and a different chemical reaction in the brain upon its consumption. But beyond this traditional Valentine’s Day offering, there is a rich international history of the worlds of women and cocoa.

Chocolate Runs Through My Veins is a riveting historical investigation by Dana Point author Connie Spenuzza that outlines the revelatory feminist history covering the agriculture, preparation, and worldwide trade of chocolate.

An international award-winning author of historical fiction novels and children’s bilingual fables, Spenuzza’s Chocolate Runs Through My Veins is a factual collection of intriguing stories sharing how cocoa came to dominate the global trade and cultures, all with the help of women.

The first-known portrayal of chocolate in art - a woman serving a chocolate drink in a Mayan vase, dated to 750 CE is the starting point that takes the reader through to the contemporary boxes of chocolate - an idea conceived by a woman and popularized by Valentine’s Day.

Driven by subjects rather than chronology, the book conveys the scope of chocolate’s thousand-year influence highlighting examples of women throughout history preparing, serving, or otherwise using chocolate.

Each topical chapter covers information related to cocoa’s rise in prominence including slavery, Spain’s colonization of South America, and modern marketing campaigns geared toward women. Highlighting relationships between prominent figures in the story of chocolate, it also examines how chocolate influences women’s social roles.

Spenuzza injects personal stories on occasion and references her upbringing in an Ecuadorian convent and travels in adulthood. Images of historical figures, illustrations of the stages of cocoa production, and depictions of Indigenous South Americans add visual angles.

Connie was born in Ecuador and raised in California and France.  She received her graduate degree from the University of Southern California, speaks four languages, and has traveled to 127 countries. All proceeds from the sale of her books benefit the fight against human trafficking. 

In keeping with the Valentine’s Day association with chocolate, the book launch is set for February 14, 2022, and will be available on or any major online bookseller. For more information, visit

“Under the sweltry canopy of the most fragrant golden seeds of cacao, I tasted the pleasure––and understood the tragic and fortunate paradox that has always been chocolate.”

  • Connie Spenuzza
  • Engraving by: Maria Sibylla Merian (Born 1647 Frankfurt – Died 1717 Amsterdam), Naturalist Illustrator, Published Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium in 1705
  • Photograph of the Italian chocolatier Luisa Spagnoli for her famous Baci chocolates from Perugia, Italy
  • Mural of the cacao women vendors in ancient "Mesoamerica" by Diego Rivera