Chocolate History

Chocolate History

Have you ever wondered whoever came up with the idea that the cacao beans could be edible? How did it all start? Read on and learn about the humble beginnings of chocolate and a brief chocolate history.

Chocolate has been around for millennia now, and the history is extremely long and diverse. The earliest references of chocolate were over fifteen hundred years ago in the Central American Rain Forest, an ideal environment for the cultivation of the Cacao Tree because of the mix of high rain fall, temperature and humidity.

chocolate history

someone looked at these and said, "let's eat them" and the rest is chocolate history

The Mayan culture worshiped the Cacao tree as they believed it was of divine origin and it symbolized life and fertility. Cacao is actually a Mayan word which meant “God Food,” modernly phrased as “Food of the Gods”. The Mayans were believed to be brewing and drinking this spicy bittersweet beverage by roasting, grinding and fermenting the seeds of the Cacao Tree. This was intended for the wealthy and elite.

The Aztecs, like Mayans, also have their own version of the fermented drink and they called it Xocolatl, meaning “bitter water”. Their Emperor, Montezuma, allegedly believed that this was an aphrodisiac, and drank almost 50 cups a day. The beans were even used as currency and considered as treasure that when Spaniards came and searched for gold and silver, they found no more than the beans.

The Spanish explorer, Hernando Cortez, reputedly brought the beans to the Europeans who then improvised the drink by putting in sugar and vanilla so it became more pleasant to the palate. The English corrupted the name of such to Chocolate. The drink created a buzz and spread all throughout Europe and made it a staple in their royal courts.

Chocolate was merely a drink until a Dutch chemist named Johannes Van Houten tried to remove the bitter taste from the roasted ground beans to make the drink more palatable, but ended up with the cocoa solids. And the rest, as they say, is history, chocolate history. What would the world be without chocolate bars, candies, cakes, and stuff? Imagine that! I could not thank Van Houten enough for “accidentally” inventing the solid form of this precious thing. The liquid versions are good all their own, but I just can’t imagine life without the solid ones!

Chocolate is always fascinating. It makes it even more fascinating when you know that the confection you are enjoying at the moment has a very extensive yet interesting history.

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