All About Chocolate: For the Chocoholics The story begins some 2 millennia ago in the tropical rainforests of the Americas. Although the cacao tree had been about for some time, the natives had never used the beans within the pods for food. On discovering that the seeds could be processed and used like a drink, it quickly aroused the interest of these primitive people. The very first people known to make chocolate in the cacao beans were the ancient cultures of Central America and Mexico. They would grind the beans and mix all of them with different seasonings and spices and then whip the beverage by hand until it was each frothy and spicy. The Olmec Indians are believed to be the first tradition to grow the beans as a domestic crop, between Fifteen hundred and 400 B.D. From 250 to 900 C.E., the consumption of the beans was restricted to the elite classof the Mayan tradition. Throughout these years, that coffee was consumed unsweetened.Apparently the actual Mayan people valued the coffee beans so highly that they planted them intheir personal landscapes so that they had easy access for them.Around 600 A.Deb., the Mayans migrated into the northern regions of South America and startedthe earliest recorded plantations of cacao trees in the Yucatan. These people used the beveragethey made in betrothal and marriage ceremonies.When the Aztec culture was able to abscond with some of the beans and learn how to make thebeverage from them, they utilized them for medicinal purposes and in ceremonies such aswedding ceremonies and religious rites. They deemed that the beans were a present from theirgods. They are also the first known culture to tax the beans. Their name for the actual beveragethat they made had been "xocalatl", translated to warm or bitter drink. The beans also began, atthat time, to be used as currency by the Mesoamerican cultures. They were not used to makechocolate until they were too worn for use as currency.The first European to learn of chocolate was Christopher Columbus. He encountered a hugeMayan trading canoe piled high using the valuable beans. When the Spaniards invaded the
Yucatan in 1517 and Mexico in 1519, they quickly caught on to the monetary value of the valuablebeans. They were not fond, nevertheless, of the warm, bitter as well as unsweetened drink whichthey received from the local people. It took a while, but they learned to adapt their taste buds tothe drink as well as began to enjoy it.The most popular story of the introduction of chocolate in order to Europe is that which creditsDominican friars with taking a delegation of Mayan nobles to the court of Knight in shining armorPhilip of Spain. As one of the many gifts which the nobles presented to the actual Prince, theygave him or her several jars of currently processed cocoa which was ready to drink. TheSpaniards did not, however, share this much loved beverage with the rest of Europe for nearly acentury!Sometime during the 16th hundred years, the Spanish people began including flavoring like vanillaand sugar cane to the chocolate beverages. Thus, sweetened chocolate was invented. Andrecorded history shows that the popularity of the beverage increased to the point that regularshipments began from Veracruz, Mexico in order to Seville, Spain in 1582.The records are not completely clear on exactly how chocolate was introduced to the rest ofEuropean countries. Its thought that quite possibly it was distributed through monasteries andconvents which were linked with Latin America. Jesuit Society members were major customers ofthe drink and had become cocoa traders as well. A French Cardinal popularized the actualbeverage in France and when Louis XIV married Maria Theresa of The country in 1615 she,chocolate lover that they was, began a custom that spread like wild fire among the Frencharistocracy.The English were introduced to the actual cacao bean through British pirates who targetedSpanish ships in the last half of the 1500s. They saw no make use of for the odd looking cargoand even burned several deliveries before someone found out what the beans were good formaking. It took about a century for the chocolate to start making its mark in British history. Once itdid although, it was not just reserved for the actual aristocracy. Anyone in Britain who could affordit was able to indulge. While it was more expensive than coffee, it was cheaper that tea."Chocolate houses" began to sprout up, with the first one being opened by a Frenchman in 1657.At that time, chocolate was 10 to 15 shillings for each pound. So it was instead costly.During the 16th and 17th centuries, the interest in chocolate grew so large the cacao plantationshad enslaved Mesoamericans to plant, grow, crop and process the cacao beans. By the end of the
Seventeenth century, only ten percent from the Native Indian population made it. It was then thatslaves were transported from Africa to Ecuador, Venezuela, Paraguay and Brazil. For over twocenturies, enslaved people and salary laborers were used to meet the actual demand for the all-enticing cocoa.About 1730, the price of cocoa has fallen to around $3 per pound. This particular made it moreaffordable to others besides the very wealthy. In 1732, the French inventor developed a table millfor grinding the chocolate. This simplified the process and made it possible to churn out biggerquantities at lower cost. Therefore production naturally grew.Within 1765, Irish chocolate maker John Hanan imported cocoa beans from the West Indies inorder to Massachusetts in the American colonies. He teamed up with Doctor. James Baker. Theyconstructed the first chocolate mill in the Colonies and by 1780, that mill had been producing thefamous Bakers chocolate that is still widely used today.An additional revolution in production occurred in 1795 whenever Dr. Joseph Fry associated withBristol, England used a vapor engine to power the grinding wheel used to make chocolate. Thiscatapulted the production process forward tremendously.The man who is considered the pioneer of Swiss chocolate making, Francois Callier, opened thefirst Swiss chocolate factory within 1819. And in 1828, a Dutchman named Conrad Van Houtoninvented the cocoa press. His invention helped more with cutting the price of chocolate and byimproving the quality of it by squeezing out cocoa butter therefore making the consistency from thebeverage smoother. Mr. Truck Houton patented his invention in Amsterdam and his processbecame referred to as "Dutching".In 1847, another innovation was made by Joseph Fry & Boy when they discovered a way to addsome of the cocoa butter back to the actual Dutch chocolate, add sugar and make a paste whichcould be shaped into a bar and...Voila! the modern chocolate bar was born. Dr. Fry and his sonpartnered with the Cadbury Brothers to display chocolates for eating at an exhibition inBirmingham, England within 1849. In 1851 Americans got their first taste of bonbons, chocolatecreams, caramels and "boiled sweets" (hard candies) from Prince Alberts Exposition in London.In 1861 Rich Cadbury created the very first known heart shaped box for Valentines and sevenyears later in 1868, John Cadbury mass produced and promoted the first boxes of chocolate
candy. In 1876 Daniel Peter, of Switzerland, introduced milk chocolate for drinking - a project thathe done for eight years before he perfected it. Within 1879 he paired up with Henri Nestlé, formedthe actual Nestlé Company and they gave all of us a chocolate mix to which all one had to addwas water and sugar.Also in 1879, Rodolphe Lindt of Bern, Switzerland invented a brand new machine which heated aswell as rolled the chocolate to refine it. The process was known as "conching". After the chocolatewas "conched" for seventy-two hours and had cocoa butter added to this the product was muchsmoother and creamier and could be created into more tasty goodies. Lindt Chocolates are stillwidely known and acclaimed around the world today.Here is another little tidbit of chocolate history to chew on...the chocolatier accredited with bringingbulk production to the chocolate making industry is Milton Hershey of Pennsylvania, United States.Mister. Hershey was nicknamed the "Henry Ford associated with Chocolate Makers".Although slavery was eliminated in 1888, the use of slave work continued into the early 1900s. In1910, William Cadbury became a innovator in boycotting those plantations that misused andabused their workers. He invited other English and American chocolate producers to join him in hiscampaign. That same year, the actual U.S. Congress passed a formal ban on any kind of cocoawhich proved to be created using slave labor. These efforts did cause conditions on theplantations to improve. The same year that the chocolatiers came together in their formal protestagainst the harshness found on cocoa plantations, the Canadian by the name of Arthur Garongintroduced the very first nickel chocolate bar.In 1913, Switzerland chocolatier Jules Sechaud gave the chocolate industry a machine process forfilling hollowed chocolate covers. Then in 1926 Joseph Draps, a Belgian chocolate manufacturer,opened the doors of Godiva Chocolates.Today, the majority of cacao is grown and harvested by hand. But gone are the days when cruelplantation owners used slave labor to fulfill the worlds need for chocolate. Todays cacao isproduced by independent growers or cooperative groups all over the world.While there are a few companies that produce handmade chocolates, the majority of theproduction is done by device. It is more cost effective and enables the companies to sell theirproduct for less than those who handcraft their products.
Even today there are still cultures who think that chocolate is for use as a form of currency and formedicinal and religious purposes. In fact the cacao bean has a chemical called theobromine whichis used to treat hypertension, because it enlarges blood vessels. So it is used even in modernmedicine. And cocoa butter is used in some elegance aids such as lotions as well as cream totreat skin. Its well known for its rich formula which moistens and softens. Its also good for treatingsunburn. Plus, cacao butter is used to coat pills so they go down ones throat more easily.There you have it...a little history, a few fun facts...are you currently craving chocolate? I am! Sowell wrap this up right here. Go grab some chocolate, unwind and appreciate the history that hasbrought us this delightful treat.Check out these Tasty Links!chocolateClick Here For More InfoCocoa Liquorhttp://www.marabelfarms.com/