Knowledge & Fun Center

History of Chocolate

In the eighteenth century a Swedish natural scientist, Carolus Linneaus who created the modern system of naming all the living things on the earth, called the tree from which chocolate comes 'Cacao Theobroma' where in cacao means the food of the gods.

For centuries, the world has had a sweet love affair with this most delectable of foods. Chocolate is made from the seeds of a cacao tree. A tropical tree that grows best in warm moist climates. It is abundantly found in the Ivory Coast, Africa. The world’s best beans come
from Ghana.
A thousand years ago, chocolate was a big secret. Only a few people, the Mayans drank it and no one ate it. It was called xocolatl and was a bitter drink that they enjoyed. With time it became very famous within their community and before long, chocol haa - or - chocolate - was an important part of Mayan life.

Soon the Aztecs found out about it and it was the end of the secret Era of chocolate!

In 1519, Hernan Cortes, a Spanish explorer, set out to war with the Aztecs. When he won the battle and returned home with cocoa beans, the Mayan drink was transformed... with the addition of lots of sugar, the drink was now served hot and became a favourite amongst the European elite!!! The current day drinking chocolate!!!!!

Chocolate gossip spread fast and even before the European people had seen a potato they were all discussing this new magical drink Chocolate. It was expensive and difficult to make the chocolate paste and it remained a novelty for the rich.
With the invention of the steam engine, many things changed!! They set up factories to extract chocolate drink from the beans and before long, it was enjoyed by everyone. The first chocolate house was reputedly opened in London in 1657 by a Frenchman. With the Industrial Revolution came the mass production of chocolate, spreading its popularity among the citizens.
Considered as a beverage for centuries, Chocolate was mostly considered a drink for men, it became an appropriate drink for women and children only in the seventeenth century. It had many different additions from milk and wine to sweeteners and spices. Drinking chocolate was considered a very fashionable social event.

Eating chocolate was introduced in 1674 in the form of rolls and cakes, served in the various chocolate emporiums. In 1847, Francis Fry – an English chocolate maker made the first chocolate bar! In Holland, Coenraad Van Houten invented the press that separated the cocoa powder from the cocoa butter. Fry noticed that the butter hardened when it cooled, which sparked a brilliant idea within him. Using Van’s invented press; Fry mixed the cocoa butter into the chocolate drink and poured it into square tubs and waited. It became hard. And behold! The world’s first chocolate bar was invented!!!!

By the 1990s, chocolate had proven its popularity as a product, and its success as a big business. Annual world consumption of cocoa beans averages approximately 3.3 millions tons
(as on 2009-2010), and per capita chocolate consumption is greatly on the rise.

How Chocolate is made

Check out this video to know
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdTpA0luD2U&NR=1

How to store chocolates

Chocolate / Choco treat should be stored in a slightly cool, dry and dark place. The ideal temperature would be around 20oc – 22oC having a low humidity < 50%. Moreover the products must be kept away from direct sunlight and away from other foods which carries very strong odours that could be absorbed by the chocolate.

Frequent exposure to high temperature can cause the fat present in the chocolate migrate to the surface creating unpleasant cloudy whitish-gray colour which is termed as BLOOM. This appears only on the outer surface. The same can be corrected by re melting and properly tempering theChocolate.

Another important parameter to be looked into, Chocolates go rancid when exposed to strong light - which will greatly affect the flavor & quality of the Chocolate.

Another important aspect to be considered, when chocolate is kept in refrigeration in an air tight container, do not remove it from the container till it has been brought up to normal ambient temperature to prevent from condensation forming in the Chocolate. Then water droplets will prevent the Chocolate from melting smoothly and might affect the texture of the melted chocolate. Meticulous care has to be taken overall for ensuring the chocolate to remain chocolatey.

All about cocoa in the rainforest biome

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHjpcLqrMYk

International Cocoa organization for history and world stats
http://www.icco.org/