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The History Of Chocolate - GiftShopCafe

Chocolate believe it or not is an American creation that was discovered somewhere between 2000 to 4000 years ago. For most of its life it was a drink rather than a bar or bonbon as it is widely perceived today. It is thought to have been created about 4,000 years ago in the Amazon Jungle. Chocolate derived from the cocoa seed, was used by the Maya Culture as early as the Sixth Century AD. The Maya called the cocoa tree cacahuaguchti or tree and the word chocolate comes from the Maya word xocoatl or bitter water. Around 300 AD cocoa pods symbolized life and fertility to the Mayas. Many stones from Maya palaces and temples had carvings of cocoa pods. Moving from Central America to the northern portions of South America, the Mayan territory stretched from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. In the area of the Yucatan, the Mayas cultivated the first known cocoa plantations. They often presented the cocoa pod in religious rituals and texts from their literature refer to cocoa as the food of the gods. In 1200 AD, the Aztecs attributed the cocoa plant to their god Quetzalcoatl who they said descended from heaven on a beam of the morning star carrying a cocoa tree from paradise. In both the Mayan and Aztec cultures cocoa was a thick cold unsweetened drink called xocoatl, believed to be a health drink. Since sugar was not known to the Aztecs and Mayas, they used different spices to add flavor including hot chili peppers and corn meal.

The Aztecs believed that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the cocoa tree. They also believed that the drink offered nourishing, fortifying and aphrodisiac qualities. Montezuma drank thick chocolate with red dye. The drink was so prestigious that it was served in golden goblets that they threw away after only one use. Montezuma liked it so much that he was purported to drink 50 goblets a day. In fact the cocoa beans were used for currency. Records show that 400 cocoa beans equaled on Zontle and 8000 beans equaled on Xiquipilli. When the Aztecs conquered tribes, they demanded payment in cocoa! By conquering the Chimimeken and the Mayas, the Aztecs strengthened their supremacy in Mexico and records dating back to 1200 AD show details of cocoa deliveries, imposed on conquered tribes. When Columbus returned from America in 1492, he presented King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella with many novel things from the new world. However, the dark brown beans that looked like almonds or cocoa beans did not attract much attention. When Columbus landed in Nicaragua in 1502, on his fourth voyage to America, he was the first European to discover cocoa beans used as currency or for drinks by the Aztec culture. Columbus still looking for a route to India did not see the potential of the cocoa market.

In 1513 Hernando de Oviedo y Valdez went to America as a member of Pedrarias Avila’s expedition and reported that he brought a slave for 100 cocoa beans. According to Hernando 10 cocoa beans bought you the services of a prostitute and 4 cocoa beans got you a rabbit dinner. Also at this time, the name of the cocoa drink changed to Chocolatl from the Mayan word for xocoatl (Chocolate) and the Aztec word for water or warm liquid. In 1519, Hernando Cortez began a cocoa Plantation in the name of Spain, although he did not like the cocoa drink, he was fascinated with the value of the cocoa bean as a currency. This would be the birth of a very profitable business. By 1528 Chocolate begins to arrive in Spain. Cortes would present the Spanish King, Charles V with cocoa beans from America and the tools to prepare it; therefore teaching him how to make Chocolatl. Now Cortez discovers a major breakthrough, he mixes the bitter cocoa drink with sugar and it becomes a delicacy. The Spanish then mixed the cocoa beans with sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cinnamon and the results were addictive. However, the drink would only become available to the hierarchy. This would further increase the demand for the beans from his plantations. The Spanish would keep this secret from the rest of the world for almost 100 years. To the Conquistadores Chocolate was regarded as an aphrodisiac. In 1544 the Dominican friars bring a delegation of Mayans to meet Philip and the Spanish monks, who had been consigned to process cocoa beans, finally start letting the secret out. By 1569, the Roman Catholic Church takes a serious look at chocolate and under Pope Pius V, declares that drinking chocolate on Friday would not break The Fast. In 1585, the first shipment intended for the mass market, arrives in Spain. In 1587, the British capture a Spanish ship loaded with cocoa beans and destroy the cargo as worthless.

The first book about chocolate is printed in 1609, “El libro en el cual se trata del chocolate,E(The book that is about chocolate) produced in Mexico. By 1615 chocolate finally starts to become available outside of Spain, Ann of Austria, daughter of Philip II of Spain, introduced the drink to her new husband, Louis the XIII of France and his French court. In 1625 cocoa beans became currency in Spain as well, 200 small cocoa beans were valued at 1 Spanish real or 4 cents. By 1643, the French Court embraces chocolate, when the Spanish Princess Maria Theresa was betrothed (contracted to marriage) to Louis XIV of France, she gave her fiancEan engagement gift of chocolate in an elegant ornate chest. Chocolate would become very popular with Louis XIV and the members of his court at Versailles. Louis XIV would reign for 74 years from 1643 to 1715 and considered one of the greatest French monarchs. His foresight would lead him to appoint Sieur David Illou to manufacture and sell chocolate, which would create a new income stream and was rumored to inspire erotic pleasures. It was known that Louis XIV on his 72nd birthday was still making love to his wife twice a day and attributed it to chocolate. The chocolate craze now including candy took Paris and the rest of France by storm.

Chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac flourished throughout France. Even Casanova was reputed to use chocolate with Champagne to seduce the ladies. Art and literature was heavy with erotic imagery inspired by chocolate. In 1657, London succumbs to chocolate, with a shop opened by a Frenchman in London and chocolate houses become the trendy meeting places for the elite society of London savoring their new luxury. In 1662, as chocolate became exceptionally fashionable, the Church of Rome took a second look at it and judged it “Liquidum non frangit jejunumEor it did not break the fast. In 1670, one man Pedro Bravo do los Camerinos decides to settle in the Philippines, where he devotes his life to planting cocoa, establishing one of greatest plantations of all time. In 1671, a bowlful of almonds is dropped and the angry chef tries to “box the earsEof the kitchen boy. However, instead spills a pan full of hot, burnt sugar over the almonds. He decides to serve the Duke of Plesslis-Praslin a renowned gourmet the burnt sugar coated almonds and the Duke is delighted. He is inspired to give his nouveau sweet a name. Today we call the confection “praline,Ehowever, its origin is well known. A Trendy coffee house called the Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll is the first in 1674, to serve chocolate in cakes and rolls. Brazil now gets into the market in 1677 and establishes its first cocoa plantations. The mayor of Zurich visits Brussels and brings back chocolate to his friends at home in 1697.

In 1704, the Germans impose a tax on chocolate as it becomes popular and in 1711, Emperor Charles VI transfers his court from Madrid to Vienna and brings chocolate along with it. In 1720, chocolatiers from Florence and Venus, now well versed in making chocolate are welcomed in France, Germany and Switzerland. In 1730, the hand method of manufacturing chocolate gave way to mass production with the introduction of the steam engine and chocolate dropped in price from three dollars per pound to within financial reach for all. By 1755, America which ironically invented cocoa discovers chocolate and by 1765 establishes the first pre-revolutionary chocolate factory in New England. By 1780, Spain is the first to produce machine-made chocolate in Barcelona. In 1792, the Josty brothers of Grisons, setup the first chocolate confection shop in Germany selling Swiss chocolate and then open up a chocolate factory in Berlin. In 1800, Antoine Brutus Menier, builds the first industrial manufacturing facility for chocolate. Venezuela now dominates the chocolate industry and by 1810 is producing half of the world’s chocolate with Spain consuming 1/3 of it. In 1819 in a former mill near Vevey, Francois Louis Cailler, who learned his craft in Italy opens the first Swiss chocolate factory. With cocoa plantations increasing on both hemispheres, lowering the price of cocoa beans, chocolate becomes an affordable beverage.

In 1828, the cocoa press was invented and the quality of the beverage was improved by squeezing out part of the cocoa butter. Drinking chocolate now had a smooth consistency and more pleasing taste, as well as a reduced price. In 1830, J.S. Fry and Sons a British chocolate maker, develops solid eating chocolate and in 1847 an English company introduced fondant chocolate a smooth velvety chocolate, replacing the old coarse grain chocolate. In 1849, Cadbury Brothers exhibited chocolate at Bingley Hall in Birmingham, England and in 1851, orchestrated by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband; the first American exposition was introduced to bonbons, chocolate creams, hard candies and caramels in England. In 1853, heavy import duties were reduced and chocolate was no longer a luxury for the rich. In 1857, Ghana gets into the cocoa game led by Portuguese Baron of Agua lz which takes the cultivation of cocoa from the Principe island to a neighboring island of Sao Thome and then to the African continent. There members of the Basle Mission in Ghana encourage growth of the cocoa crop, making Ghana one of the most important producers.

By 1875, after eight years of experimentation, Daniel Peter of Switzerland develops the first milk chocolate on the market. In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt of Berne, Switzerland, invented “conchingEa way of heating and rolling chocolate to refine it. After 72 hours of conching and adding more cocoa butter to it, the chocolate becomes “fondantE(soft and creamy). By the 1900’s, Switzerland takes the leadership role in chocolate and Spain where chocolate was first introduced to Europeans, falls behind Germany, the United States, France and Great Britain. In 1910 and beyond, the Swiss reputation for chocolate is undisputed bolstered by a growing series of Medals at international exhibitions and becomes one of the favorite national treats. In 1913, Jules Sechaud of Montreux of Switzerland introduces the process of filling chocolate.

Cocoa becomes big business and by 1923, CMA is established, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association of the United States. Also by 1925, the New York Cocoa Exchange is setup so buyers and sellers can negotiate transactions. In 1938, during World War II, the US recognized the role of chocolate in the armed forces and supplied the US army with chocolate bars, this continues to this day. Today chocolate is big business all over the world and is consumed in just about every country in the world. We at GiftShopCafe are delighted to be a purveyor of fine chocolate produced from many parts of the world.

The History Of Chocolate - GiftShopCafe

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