baking, leading into our Bittersweet Baking Contest. This week the spotlight belongs to chocolate. Chocolate was once considered valuable enough to be the currency of entire civilizations; the ancient Aztecs and Mayans used cacao beans for trade and money. Status, significance and wealth were tied to this precious bean. Today, they are considered precious for other reasons. When these little beans are roasted and cracked open, their nibs, like the ones pictured above, are pressed to extract the most delicious liquor - dark, bitter, smoky and rich. This week we'll look at chocolate, its history, and many of its forms, plus how it gets from bean to bar and some practical tips for cooking and baking with chocolate. Whether you like your chocolate simple and sweet, sugary and milky, dark and bitter, fruity and intense, baked or solid, liquid or frothy - there's something here for you. What chocolate topics would you like to talk about this week?