History of Chocolate
We all love chocolates every now and then, but rarely do we stop and think about the history behind it. Chocolate has been around for centuries in various forms and it has come a long way to become a bar as we know of it. So let’s look at the few important points and instances in the history of mankind where chocolate came to be and still is considered one of the best dessert on this planet :
- The history of chocolate dates back to around 1900 BC and is believed to have its origins in Mesoamerica.
- Chocolate was so expensive back in the days that cacao seeds were used as a currency to exchange goods and services.
- Chocolate was only consumed by the rich and the wealthy back in the days. Consuming chocolate was considered a sign of wealth and prosperity.
- The Aztecs believed the cacao seeds to be the gift of their God of wisdom, Quetzalcoatl. And hence chocolate was considered sacred.
- Chocolate was consumed as a liquid for most of the history. The solid bar form that you see everywhere now a days is a fairly new concept of about only 100 years old or so.
- Originally prepared only as a drink, chocolate was served as a bitter, frothy liquid, mixed with spices, wine, or corn puree. It was believed to have aphrodisiac powers and to give the drinker strength. Today, such drinks are also known as “Chilate” and are made by locals in the South of Mexico.
- Pure chocolate is not sweet at all. Chocolate originally is bitter and that’s why dark chocolate is bitter. Dark chocolate is more pure compared to milk chocolate, where sugar is added to make it sweet.
- The name “Chocolate” has its origins in the Spanish language.
- Chocolate was served as an alcoholic beverage until as early as 1400 BC.
- Earliest evidence of domestication of the cacao plant dates to the Olmec culture from the Preclassic period. The Olmecs used it for religious rituals or as a medicinal drink, with no recipes for personal use. Little evidence remains of how the beverage was processed.
- The Mayan people, by contrast, do leave some surviving writings about cacao which confirm the identification of the drink with the gods.
- Christopher Columbus encountered the cacao bean on his fourth mission to the Americas on August 15, 1502, when he and his crew seized a large native canoe that proved to contain among other goods for trade, cacao beans.
90% of cocoa now comes from Africa and most of the beans are used to trade, only a few make it to the chocolate factories where is then turned into the chocolate bars as we know today. So now we know a little something about our favorite dessert.