In the 17th century, Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, ordered the royal pharmacist, Francesco Redi, to devise a secret recipe for chocolate, at the time still a fairly recent arrival from the Americas. Redi’s elaborate instructions, revealed only after his death, demanded the layering of cacao and jasmine, with the flowers to be exchanged each day for fresh ones for 10 to 12 days running. The scented beans were then ground with additional flowers — vanilla orchids likewise imported from the New World — and sugar, cinnamon and ambergris, the waxy slough from the intestines of a sperm whale.
— Read more in The Ethereal Taste of Flowers at The New York Times.
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