Sunday, 19 May 2013

The History of Chocolate

Rich, smooth and decadent: desired by almost everyone. Yes, one is referring to chocolate! Little did you know while you were tucking into your bar of Dairy Milk that you were eating something with a rich and delicious history, although chocolate has not always been just for eating... in fact, for the majority of its past, it was a drink! In the 16th Century Aztec society, cacao beans were valuable and used as money with 100 beans being worth the equivalent of a good turkey hen. They were also thought to have magical properties by the Mayans as wells as the Aztecs. This meant that they would often be used in ceremonies and rituals for birth, death and marriage. However, the uses of cacao beans date back later than that. Cacao residue was found in pottery which dated back to 1400 BC. The flesh of the cacao plants were believed to have been fermented and turned into alcohol. It was only during the end of the 16th Century when Europeans tasted and adapted the traditional cacao that it morphed into the sweeter version that we know today. By the 17th Century it was a popular drink which was seen to be very nutritious. Then in 1828, a Dutch chemist came up with the solid chocolate which is so widely loved in modern society. All things considered, without the discoveries of the Mayans and Aztecs, the adventurous Europeans and the innovative Dutch chemist, we would not have delicious chocolate. So, when you are feeling sad and using that bar of chocolate to cheer you up, just save a moment to thank these people as had they not been so inventive and inquisitive, you would be chocolateless. JG

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