First off, I need to thank our sponsors American Heritage Chocolate and The Hermitage Museum for this opportunity. It is not everyday this mama gets a chance to travel, much less alone and to a fantastic place!!
American History and the history of chocolate? Sign me up! Last month, I was able to travel to Nashville, TN to visit the home of our 7th President, Andrew Jackson, and learn all about the history of chocolate while enjoying great company, great food and of course great CHOCOLATE.
I was able to tour the grounds of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. This place is gorgeous, educational and fun. Sitting on over 1000 acres, the Hermitage is home to Andrew Jackson’s mansion and his tomb. The Hermitage offers guided tours, ghost tours, self-guided audio tours and even child-centric audio tours, led by Andrew Jackson’s pet parrot! The picturesque grounds, rich with American history make it hard to leave. Even visiting at night and taking the ghost tour did not deter me from returning the next day!
Currently at the museum, there is an exhibit called Born for a Storm which chronicles Jackson’s life. I was especially interested in the section dedicated to the Battle of New Orleans not only because I’m a native New Orleanian, but I’m also someone who took 3rd place in my 5th Grade Social Studies project on the Battle of New Orleans, which clearly makes me an expert on the subject.
One of my biggest takeaways from the trip (aside from how much I loved having a king size bed to myself) is how much chocolate played a part in the lives of history’s big players: Lewis and Clark, Amelia Earhart and of course Andrew Jackson. The way they spoke of chocolate is similar to how moms speak of coffee and wine (it’s our lifeline).
I was able to partake in an American Heritage Chocolate experience, which is held at the Hermitage for special events. There I learned that Cocoa is a fruit (so, clearly that makes chocolate healthy!) and that chocolate was initially consumed as a drink!! Chocolate is always a nice sweet treat, but I had never before tried such a sophisticated chocolate drink. It was much richer than any hot cocoa I’ve ever had. Plus, they use recipes developed in the 1750s, so the chocolate isn’t as sweet as the chocolate we know today. American Heritage Chocolate uses a blend of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, chili pepper orange, anise and vanilla, which gives it a distinct and refined flavor.
This was an amazing opportunity to get a taste of history, both literal and metaphorical, by visiting Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage and trying several recipes using American Heritage Chocolate. While I would encourage everyone to take a trip to Nashville to visit the Hermitage, you don’t have to go quite that far to get your hands on some American Heritage Chocolate. For a limited time, you can find their products at Cracker Barrel. And of course, you’d have a great excuse to eat at Cracker Barrel. You’re welcome.
We already have a summer trip planned to Memphis, and once I returned from visiting The Hermitage, I talked to my husband about extending our trip and taking the family back to the Hermitage and to visit Nashville for a day or two. Or we may even make plans to do a stand-alone Nashville trip in the winter as it’s less than an eight hour drive from New Orleans.
Check back next week when I share a recipe inspired by my time at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage using American Heritage Chocolate!!