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The History Of Chocolate

In: How to November 24th, 2016

The history of sweets began at least 4000 years ago with the Egyptian desserts described in the extant papyrus. It was found that the candied fruits were sold in markets in 1566 BC. The world found out about chocolate, when the ancient tribes of Mayas and Aztecs discovered the wonderful properties of cocoa. Appearing in the Amazon or Orinoco valley, chocolate has long remained unknown in the Old World.

In 600 BC. Mayans migrated into the northern part of South America and set up first cocoa plantations in what is now known as the Yucatan. There is a theory that the Maya were familiar with cocoa several centuries earlier, using wild cocoa beans as the cash equivalent. It is not known exactly who invented the first chocolate. Maya as well as the Aztecs were making special beverage from cocoa beans. According to legend of the Aztecs, cocoa seeds fall to earth from Paradise, so it gives the strength and wisdom to everyone who eat its fruit.

There is plenty of evidence as for the importance of chocolate in the life of Maya: interior stone temples were decorated with cocoa beans, the found objects were decorated with images of kings and gods, drinking this beverage, and enjoying the taste of chocolate. Chocolate is traditionally consumed during religious ceremonies or weddings. Also, each Maya, regardless of social status, had the opportunity to enjoy the taste of cocoa.

The chocolate has quickly gained the leading position in the Aztec economy. Addiction to cocoa beans and drinks produced on the basis of it, has created an extensive network of trade routes in the region.

Aztecs who inhabited central Mexico, considered cocoa beans so valuable that they were used instead of money. All the food and clothing could be paid by cocoa beans. For Aztecs, to have a pocket full of the fruits of the cocoa tree meant to have a wallet full of banknotes. So, from the point of view of the Aztecs, the money did grow on trees!

The tribes drank cocoa drinks not only for fun but also for medical purposes. Cocoa has been used to reduce the heat treatment of seizures and skin rashes. Cocoa was attributed to exceptional stimulating properties. It was considered an aphrodisiac. Cocoa butter has been used to treat burns and snake bites.

Any chocolate begins with cocoa, fruit tree called Theobroma cacao, also known as cocoa tree. Its name in translation means "food of the gods." In Greeklanguage “theos” means "god" and broma - "food".

In Europe, the first cocoa beans appeared thanks to Christopher Columbus, who introduced them to the table of the Spanish King, returning from an expedition to the shores of the New World. After some time, the cocoa beans were in the court of the King of France, and then spread throughout Europe. A new treat quickly became popular among the nobility. Europeans prepared this chocolate drink with milk, sugar and vanilla. This extremely tasty drink was extremely expensive, and it could only be afforded by the representatives of the nobility.

Cocoa appeared in France thanks to the marriage of King Louis the13th and the Spanish princess Anne of Austria.

Soon, the chocolate appeared in the UK. In 1657 it opened its doors to the first English pastry. Cocoa was a privilege of the upper classes of society, only men had the opportunity to visit the bakery, selling chocolate, where they indulged in gambling and discussing politics.

Over time, the chocolate, has become an increasingly mass product. In the 18th century the first confectionery was opened in France, where visitors were treated with this chocolate drink. In England, these institutions were so popular that they even eclipsed tea and coffee houses.

All this time, chocolate was used only as a drink. Only in the 19th century, the Swiss have learned to receive cocoa butter and cocoa powder from the cocoa beans. The first chocolate bar in the world was established in 1819. That was the beginning of the new era in the history of chocolate. The manufacturers around the world began to experiment with a new product, adding to it nuts, honey, candied fruits, alcohol, and most importantly - milk that has led to the discovery of milk chocolate, the most popular one in the world.

In the early 20th century, the main ingredients of chocolate - cocoa and sugar - has rapidly become cheaper. Chocolate became widely available. During the war, the US and European governments included chocolate in the diet of troops. Thanks to the soldiers, who treated the local population with chocolate, it has become popular in Africa and Asia.

Today, people around the world consider chocolate as one of their favorite treats. Democratic or elite, with nuts or fruits, bitter or with milk, in tiles or in bars - the modern chocolate can satisfy the most exquisite tastes.

A few key dates in the history of chocolate:

1829. The invention of the cocoa press

1830. Swiss chocolatier Charles-Amédée Kohler created the first chocolate with hazelnuts.

1847. English society “Fry” starts production of solid chocolate.

1848. The world's first chocolate bar.

1875. The Swiss Daniel Peter creates the world's first "milk chocolate".

1879. The process of conching gives cocoa mass even greater tenderness and flavor.

1900. The process of enrobing confectionery of chocolate was automated, thanks to the "machines for chocolate coating".

1912. The invention of praline or chocolate filling in Belgium.

Interesting Facts:

  • From Latin, the world “chocolate” is translated as "food of the gods";

  • Chocolate melts at a temperature which is only slightly below the body temperature. That's why chocolate melts easily in the mouth;

  • Every day, 15% of women all over the world eat chocolate;

  • Most of all, the chocolate is loved in Switzerland: the average citizen of this country consumes more than 10 kg. chocolate a year!

  • Confectioners in New York created the world's highest tower of chocolate. For the 6 meters 40 centimeters high tower it took over 1 thousand kg of dark chocolate, and the construction took more than 30 hours;

  • Russian chocolate factory got into the Guinness Book of Records due to creation of the largest chocolate bar in the world.

  • The heaviest chocolate bar was made in Italy. Its weight reached 2280 kg.

Varieties of chocolate:

  • Dark chocolate - produced by adding the cocoa mass, sugar and cocoa butter. Dark chocolate must contain at least 60% of cocoa mass. The highest percentage of cocoa content, which is presented in the market today is 85%.

  • Dark chocolate - must contain 35% of cocoa powder. It may also contain ingredients such as cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla. The amount of sugar in it is higher than in the dark chocolate.

  • Milk chocolate – contains cocoa butter, milk powder, sugar, vanilla or soy lecithin and vanillin, which are added to the cocoa mass. Any milk chocolate must contain at least 25% of dry cocoa and at least 14% of milk powder.

  • White chocolate - a mixture of at least 20% of cocoa butter and 14% of milk powder. The white chocolate cocoa butter is present, but there is no cocoa mass.

As you can see, the history of chocolate is very rich in events. It went through a lot of stages of development. Nowadays, chocolate is available everywhere, and there are quite a lot of its varieties and sorts. Even due to the fact that nowadays there exist a lot of other candies, chocolate remains the most popular and delicious product all over the world. We can write a perfect essay for you!