Culture Food History

A brief History of Chocolate

Chocolate
Source: health.cleavelandclinic

Chocolate is one of the most desired, treasured, and enjoyed foods. There are almost limitless ways to savor its sweetness and rich flavor, whether white, simple, or dark. 

But have you ever given any attention to where chocolate originated? And would you believe it if I told you that it existed and was famous as a beverage throughout most of its life?

It was once a precious foodstuff reserved for royalty and the upper class. Now people from any horizon or any age or walk of life can enjoy chocolate. But there is one point that has never changed throughout history: it has always been a food that has raised many passions.

A Brief History Of Chocolate.

Chocolate was considered a gift from the gods by the Mayans and Aztecs. The Aztecs held the drink in high regard. They gave it to victorious soldiers after battles, using it in religious rites, and even using cacao beans as money. Cacao beans were more important to them than gold.

The bitter drink’s Aztec name is ‘xocolatl,’ which most people think the modern word chocolate originates from.

So, how did it end up in Europe?

When a Spaniard named Hernán Cortés traveled to South America in the 16th century to create Spanish colonies, they greeted him with gallons of the fiery drink. So he brought some back to Spain, where it became a success.

Chocolate
Source: Cocoa Hernando

It was originally employed as a remedy. But people began to sweeten it by adding honey and sugar due to its harsh flavor. This made it extremely tasty, and it quickly became fashionable at the Spanish court. It was the aristocracy’s drink of choice, and no upper-class house was complete without chocolate-making and drinking utensils.

People who consumed it only used it as a beverage up to this moment. However, in 1828, things began to shift. The guy who revolutionized the game was Coenraad van Houten of Amsterdam, who created the ‘cocoa press,’ which could extract the fat from a cacao bean and leave behind a fine powder.

This powder tasted much better as a drink, so people began mixing it with milk instead of water, resulting in the hot chocolate we know today. In short, chocolate could be now mass-produced. This made it more affordable and accessible to a broader audience. This act was dubbed “the democratization of chocolate” by some.

Origin of Chocolate Bars.

J.S. Fry and Sons, a British chocolatier, came up with the new concept of recombining fat and liquor and adding sugar in 1847. He poured it into molds and presto! He created chocolate bars.

Chocolate
Source: Forbes

This process produced chocolate that approximated mild dark chocolate. The next significant development in the story occurred when Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter added powdered milk to the mix, resulting in creating the world’s first milk bar.

Chocolate’s popularity soared after that, and rightfully so. So, the next time you eat chocolate, remember to thank the different people whose contributions led to chocolate to your nearby stores!

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