History On Chocolate

It is known that the story of chocolate began with Christopher Columbus's discovery of America. In 1502 when Christopher Columbus returned to the New World, he brought with him cacao beans.

It is known that the story of chocolate began with Christopher Columbus' discovery of America. In 1502 when Christopher Columbus returned to the New World, he brought with him cacao beans. He gave these cacao beans to King Ferdinand. The Spaniards learned about the use of chocolate from the Aztecs. Cocoa beans were valuable during the reign of the Mexican Emperor Montezuma. They were so valuable they were used as currency. Hernando Cortez's ship was met with people bringing cocoa along with gold and silver. From the cocoa beans, a chocolate drink was prepared and it was believed to give a person energy, wisdom, and enhance sexual prowess.

A Spanish explorer, Hernando Cortez, paid a visit to Emperor Montezuma of Mexico. The story of chocolate being an aphrodisiac is quite interesting. There was a beverage called "chocolatl", which was a potation of chocolate. Chocolatl was flavored with vanilla and spices and would be reduced to resemble honey. When chocolate was consumed it would dissolve in the mouth and was meant to be a cold drink. The fact is that Montezuma would drink chocolatl before going to his harem. This led everyone to believe chocolatl was an aphrodisiac.

The taste of this drink did not go over very well because of the bland taste. Herman Cortez wanted to attempt to change the taste of the bitter drink. He added hot water, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. This created a drink that would make peoples taste buds dance. Cortez decided to bring this tasty drink back to Spain, but the method of preparation and the ingredients were kept a secret.

From Spain, chocolate made its debut in France. It was greeted with suspicion and skepticism. Believe it or not, it was referred to as a "barbarous product and noxious drug." The French encouraged the Paris faculty of medicine to investigate. Finally the Paris faculty of medicine issued its approval. The wife of Louis XIII, Anne of Austria, was intrigued with the sweet drink and declared it the drink of the French court. The French queen had saved the day for chocolate.

Now it was time for this drink to move to Italy and England. A shop called The Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll opened in 1657. It did not take long before the chocolate drink became a best seller. Popularity of chocolate was growing more and more with each passing day. Chocolate started to drop per pound from three dollars per pound to a price that most everyone could afford. There was difficulty and hard work in the grinding of the cocoa beans. In 1828 the cocoa press was invented for grinding the cocoa beans. Of course, this reduced the price further. The cocoa press helped to eliminate fats and part of the cocoa butter; therefore, producing a smoother and tastier flavor.

And then it happened chocolate made its debut in America! In 1765, John Hanau and James Baker opened a processing house at Milton Lower Mills, near Dorchester, Massachusetts. Due to this phenomenon, the processing of chocolate was produced at a greater pace than ever before.

In 1826, the production had spread to the Swiss. The presence of chocolate and sugar were not abundant, even though cows were plentiful. So when was solid chocolate introduced? Up to this point in time, chocolate consistency was coarse and grainy.

Beginning in 1847 and in 1876 chocolate not only took on a different taste, but also its appearance changed. An English company introduced solid chocolate in 1847. They referred to solid chocolate as "eating chocolate", which was established through fondant chocolate. Fondant chocolate was smooth and looked like velvet. But in Switzerland another development occurred in 1876 by Daniel Peter. Daniel Peter created milk chocolate by adding milk as one of its ingredients.

Peter, of course, did not succeed on the first attempt of solid chocolate. Peter spent eight years experimenting before he finally decided to try and put this on the market. Daniel Peter got the bright idea of taking his chocolate idea to Henry Nestle, who was a maker of evaporated milk. He and Peter began to brainstorm and decided to mix sweetened condensed milk with chocolate. Keep in mind that Nestle was the person responsible for perfecting the manufacturing process for condensed milk.

Leaders in the cocoa bean belt are Brazil and Ivory Coast. These two leaders account for almost half of the world's cocoa. The leader in chocolate consumption is Switzerland, with the United States being the world leader in cocoa bean importation and also chocolate production.

In 1980, the Swiss company of Suchard-Tobler was selling secret recipes to Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. Of course, this attempt was unsuccessful. Chocolate had proven its popularity by the 1990's. Per capita chocolate consumption is on the rise and cocoa bean consumption averages 600,000 tons.

The manufacturing of chocolate is a multibillion-dollar industry in the United States. Norman Kolpas stated that we have watched chocolate begin as a primitive drink of Latin American tribes, became a drink associated with the elite society of Europe, was improved to become drinkable, and lastly become edible. Chocolate went from packed seeds of fruit from an exotic tree to cocoa and chocolate products and edible chocolate bars.

Overall, Word War II also played an important role in chocolate candies being brought to the forefront. Chocolate bars helped soldiers to maintain strength until food rations were obtained. Today, three 4-ounce chocolate bars are given as rations in the U.S. Army. The U.S. astronauts also take chocolate bars into space as part of their food source.

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