Cacao – Starting from Chocolate and going back to Cocoa bean

Chocolate is pretty much commonplace in today’s society and can be purchased in a variety of ways from boxed chocolates to candy bars. You will find candy bearing the name of their inventors including Stephen Whitman, Henri Nestlé, Milton Hershey, William Cadbury, Harry Burnett Reese, Forrest Mars, and Theodore Tobler in many different stores. Chocolate is found in the United States Army D-rations and chocolate has been to space as part of the diet of United States astronauts. All of this began in the 1800’s with the creation of the first solid chocolate candy, prior to this chocolate was not as easily accessible. The later part of the 1800’s during the Industrial Revolution many new inventions were create including the complex machinery that could grind and process the cacao beans. 1910 was a year that marked a huge change in the chocolate market as the United States banned any cacao beans that were received through slave labor. In 1765, the very first chocolate factory was built in New England and this delectable treat spread like wild fire. Chocolate was a huge success and everyone wanted to enjoy the delightful taste of this treat. Prior to chocolate being introduced to America the first solid eating chocolate in 1847 in England and with a few years in 1876 in Vevey, Switzerland, Daniel Peter created a way of adding milk to the chocolate to create the delicious milk chocolate we have today. During the 1600’s, Chocolate Houses were seen throughout England. Here everyone could enjoy a cup of chocolate while gambling, discussing politics, and socializing with others of the upper class. Of course, these delicious chocolate drinks had all kinds of flavors added such as sugar and cinnamon. Through trial and error, different flavorings were added to chocolate until they discovered a drink similar to the hot chocolate we drink today. Herman Cortes can be thanked for bringing cacao beans to Europe in 1521. Cortes was given a taste of the royal drink “chocolatl, which meant nothing more than a warm liquid. The chocolate drink Cortes and his men drank was quite bitter and not pleasing to their taste buds, however, he added a bit of cane sugar and the drink was astounding. Emperor Montezuma was known to have drunk fifty or over cups of this drink on a daily basis served in golden goblets as if the drink was a food offered to the gods. The cacao bean was discovered by another explorer, Christopher Columbus; however, the dark brown beans were not very impressive to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. The beans were nothing more than just another seed and nothing more. The Mayan and Aztec Indians used the cacao tree and its beans to create a spicy oily drink known as xocoatl. The cacao beans were ground with cornmeal and chilis, and then mixed with water. At one time, all Mayans were drinking xocoatl, however, once the cacao beans were being given as a tribute only the wealthy rulers, soldiers, and priests were able to enjoy the treat. The drink had an important role in their religious rituals including human sacrifices.

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