Chocolate is one of the few foods people love. Because it is so rich and creamy, it’s easy to see why chocolate is so beloved. Although it might seem like you don’t have much knowledge about chocolate, there is a lot more to learn about its history, production and significance for people. Continue reading to discover chocolate’s immense impact on humanity.
While chocolate may be considered the “food for the gods,” it has been consumed as a bitter drink throughout its 4,000-year-old history. Anthropologists have proven that chocolate was first produced in Mexico by prehistoric Olmec cultures, who lived as far back at 1900 B.C. Anthropologists have found evidence that chocolate was produced by pre-Olmec cultures living in present-day Mexico as early as 1900 B.C. EK–CHUAH was a Mayan god. They reserved chocolate for the rulers of the Mayans, warriors, priests, nobles and priests who were participating in sacred ceremonies.
The Aztecs coveted cacao beans when they ruled Mesoamerica in 14th century. They couldn’t grow them in central Mexico’s highlands. Aztecs traded cacao beans for currency with the Mayans.
Spanish explorers from Spain who had sought silver and gold in Mexico in the 1500s returned with chocolate. The Spanish made sweetened the bitter drink using cinnamon and cane syrup. But one thing remained constant; chocolate was still a powerful symbol of luxury, wealth, power, and luxury. The Spanish elite could only afford expensive chocolate and royals were the ones who drank it. Spain kept chocolate a secret for almost a century. However, when Philip III’s daughter married Louis XIII in 1615 she brought her chocolate cravings to France. It quickly gained popularity in Europe and was embraced by aristocrats as a magical remedy with great benefits. European monarchies set up plantations in equatorial areas around the globe to grow sugar and cacao to satisfy their growing chocolate cravings. European explorers brought diseases to Mesoamericans. They made it easier for them to import slaves to work on their plantations. The cocoa presses could extract the fatty cocoa butter, which was made from roasted cacao beans. This dried clump could be ground into a powder that could be mixed into liquids to make delicious chocolate. Van Houten’s invention allowed chocolate to be used in confectionary. This allowed chocolate to drop in price so that it was affordable for everyone.
J.S. chocolates was established in Britain in 1847. Fry & Sons developed the first solid edible chocolate-bar from cocoa butter. Rodolphe L. Lindt’s 1879 invention, the conching machine, gave rise to mass production of milk chocolate. The late 1800s and early 1900s saw a surge in chocolate sales, which is still evident today with the emergence of many well-known chocolate companies like Cadbury, Mars and Hershey.