History of Chocolate.

Sweet History of Chocolate

When you know the History of Chocolate you question Who Invented Chocolate? will be answered when you finished reading it.

This question will pop up if you love eating Chocolates. Answering this question, I need to take you through our ride in early around 1000BC where Olmec lived around the area (which is today’s Southeast Mexico). It started in Latin America, where Cacao trees grow. Probably Olmec were the first people who used the Chocolate. Sophie and Michael Coe had written in their book “The True History of Chocolate” that the earliest linguistic evidence of chocolate consumption stretches back three or even four millennia, to pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica such as the Olmec.

Our current word “Cacao” came from their word “kawaka”. Unfortunately, we even not knowing how the Olmec actually used chocolate as there is no recipe found from that era.

A thousand years later (about 250-900 AD) The Mayan, who inhabited the same general area did use chocolate and Sweet History of chocolate begins with Maya.

Chocolate was used in religious rituals by Maya. Chocolate was also used in Birth, marriage and Death ceremonies. The Mayas loved their Chocolate as a drink. But the Maya prepared chocolate strictly for drinking. Chocolate history doesn’t include solid chocolate until the 1850s. Except for that, the way the Maya prepared chocolate wasn’t too much different from the way it’s prepared today.

Aztecs kept the chocolate tradition alive after conquering Maya. From about 1200-1500, the Aztecs dominated the region and continued using cacao as currency.  Both The Aztec and Maya drank their chocolate in same way. Although Aztech sometimes liked it cold.

15th August 1502, Christopher Columbus and his son encountered the cacao bean on conquering mission to the Americas, when he and his crew seized a large native canoe that proved to contain among other goods for trade cacao beans. The natives greatly valued the beans, when any of these beans, they all didn’t pick it up, and as if “an eye had fallen from their heads” If this incident have been remembered then Columbus could have been known as first white guy who discovered Chocolate.

Solid Chocolate doesn’t include in Chocolate history until 1850s. In the 1850s, Englishman Joseph Fry changed the chocolate life by adding more cocoa butter, rather than hot water, to cocoa powder and sugar. The world’s first solid chocolate was born. In 1875, Daniel Peter and Henri Nestle added condensed milk to solid chocolate, creating a milk chocolate bar. In 1879, Swiss chap Rudolphe Lindt invented the conch, a machine that rotated and mixed chocolate to a perfectly smooth consistency

How was the first chocolate manufactured?

First, the beans were harvested, fermented, and dried. The beans were then roasted and the shells removed, and the rest was ground into a paste. The paste was mixed with hot water and spices, such as chili, vanilla, annatto, allspice, honey, and flowers. Then the mixture was frothed by pouring it back and forth between two containers. The Maya thought the froth was one of the best parts. Chocolate was also mixed with corn and water to make a sort of gruel. It was probably similar to the chocolate and corn drink pinnole, still enjoyed in Latin America today.

Chocolate flourishing in European market!

These beans were first brought to Europe by Columbus and some of them is presented to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

Aztech King Montezuma welcomed the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez and greeted with cups of chocolatl arrived in Mexico in 1519. Aztech has mistaken him as renewed god instead of a conquering encroacher. This was the start of the Spanish overpowered them. Cortez, though, to realize the potential of these beans and he brought in the drink to the Spanish nobility.

They tried chocolate, hated it due to its bitter taste. One writer eloquently called it “more a drink for pigs than a drink for humanity.” Without sugar or Honey, cacao was fairly bitter. Soon after this its popularity spread across Europe and by the mid-17th century chocolate drinking houses had sprung up across England.

In 1828, Van Houten in the Netherlands found a way to make powdered chocolate by pressing removing about half the natural fat (cacao butter) from chocolate liquor, pulverizing what remained and treating the mixture with alkaline salts to cut the bitter taste. His product became known as “Dutch cocoa,” and it soon led to the creation of solid chocolate.

Joseph Fry introduced further processing development in 1847 in Bristol of steam presses to separate the fat more easy. The creation of the first bar of plain chocolate is credited to him Joseph Fry.  Then after 30 years milk chocolate been developed by Daniel Peter in Vevey in Switzerland.

In 1868 Richard Cadbury decorated a box with a painting of his young daughter holding a kitten in her arms.

Cocoa beans was used as a Currency!

The cacao beans were used as currency. 10 beans would buy you a rabbit or a prostitute. 100 beans would buy you a slave. Some clever person even came up with a way to counterfeit beans – by carving them out of clay. The beans were still used as currency in parts of Latin America until the 19th century!

After Cortez and pals conquered the Aztecs, they kept right on using cacao as currency. By this time a rabbit cost 30 cacao beans. Must have been inflation. But chocolate history would soon change forever, because Cortez also kept right on conquering other people.

Chocolates used as a medicine!

For a while, the Spaniards kept the chocolate secret to themselves. And when chocolate first made it to Spain, it was considered a health food and a medicine. Doctors prescribed it for the following medicinal uses:

Medical Benefits of chocolate
Medical Benefits of chocolate

The church also approved it as a nutritional supplement to take while fasting.

Chocolate expansion in 20th Century!

However chocolate remained a luxury until the 20th century. Then many new varieties of chocolate bar were introduced in Britain. First came

Flake (1920),

Fruit and Nut (1921),

Milky Way (1923)

Crunchie (1929),

Snickers (1930),

Mars Bar (1932),

Whole Nut (1933),

Aero and Kit Kat (1935),

Maltesers (1936),

Smarties (1937),

Later came Bounty (1951),

Picnic (1958),

Galaxy (1960),

Topic (1962),

Toffee Crisp (1963),

Twix (1967) followed by

Yorkie, Double Decker and Lion Bar (1976)

and Wispa (1983).

Furthermore new boxes of chocolates were introduced in Britain. Milk Tray dates from 1915. Terry’s Chocolate Orange and All Gold were introduced in 1932. Black Magic came in 1933 and Dairy Box and Quality Street were first sold in 1936. Cadburys Roses dates from 1938 and After Eight was introduced in 1962. In the 20th century, chocolate was considered a staple, essential in the rations of United States soldiers at war. The word “chocolate” comes from the Classical Nahuatl word chocolātl, and entered the English language from Spanish.

With the advent of 21st Century!

The future of chocolate looks Bright!  Chocolate remains the fine pleasure that brings enjoyment people around the world. Enjoy!

Author: Haridas Patel

Love to travel eating Chocolates.

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