The history of Chocolate
When most of us hear the word chocolate, we picture a bar, a box of bonbons or a bunny. The verb that comes to mind is probably “eat,” not “drink,” and the most apt adjective would seem to be “sweet.” But for about 90 percent of chocolate’s long history, it was strictly a beverage, and sugar didn’t have anything to do with it.
“Chocolate is the best-known ingredient that nobody knows anything about,” am I wrong? Do you know anything about Chocolate?
The term “cacao” refers to the plant or its beans before processing, while the term “chocolate” refers to anything made from the beans, “Cocoa” generally refers to chocolate in a powdered form, although it can also be a British form of “cacao.”
Etymologists trace the origin of the word “chocolate” to the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans.
Many historians have estimated the chocolate to have appeared around 2000 years ago, but recent research suggests that it may be even older.
It’s hard to find out exactly when chocolate was born, but it’s clear that it was loved by everyone from the beginning. In pre-modern Latin America, cacao beans were considered valuable enough to be used as currency.
Both the Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical or even divine properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage and death.
Sweetened chocolate didn’t appear until Europeans discovered it with the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes who brought it back with him and organized a banquet that included drinking chocolate. As it didn’t suit the foreigners’ taste at first –one described it in his writings as “a bitter drink for pigs” – but once mixed with honey or cane sugar, it quickly became popular throughout Spain.
By the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink throughout Europe, believed to have nutritious, medicinal and even aphrodisiac properties (it’s rumoured that Casanova was especially fond of the stuff). But it remained largely a privilege of the rich until the invention of the steam engine made mass production possible in the late 1700s.
In 1828, a Dutch chemist found a way to make powdered chocolate by removing about half the natural fat (cacao butter) from chocolate liquor, pulverizing what remained and treating the mixture with alkaline salts to cut the bitter taste. His product became known as “Dutch cocoa,” and it soon led to the creation of solid chocolate.
By 1868, a little company called Cadbury was marketing boxes of chocolate candies in England. Milk chocolate hit the market a few years later, pioneered by another name that may ring a bell – Nestle.
In the 20th century, the word “chocolate” expanded to include a range of affordable treats with more sugar and additives than actual cacao in them, often made from the hardiest but least flavourful of the bean varieties.
Now you know more about Chocolate, during this period of Detox, allow yourself a little treat with this delicious snack, a bit bitter, a bit sweet, a bit tender, a bit crunchy, and a bit chewy. Follow our Recipe below:
“Orange Dark Chocolate”
– 200gr of dark chocolate tablet (75% cocoa minimum) for the sweet…
-A few drop of vanilla flavour for the tender…
– 1 Orange Zest my personal touch for the bitter…
-1/2 Cup. of cranberries for the chewy…
-1/2 Cup. Of sliced almond for the crunchy…
Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
Lay out almond slivers on baking sheet. Bake in an oven at 200C until light brown, shaking the baking pan occasionally to mix them around, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave 30sec, stir and another 30sec until it is smooth. Mix in the cranberries, sliced almond and orange zest.
Pour into prepared pan. Smooth the chocolate mixture out into an even layer. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until hard, at least 1 hour. Use a knife to break up chocolate into jagged, varied sized bars.
Not fans of cranberries? Not a problem; change it for raisins, dry apricots…
Enjoy it with Moderation!