The History of Chocolate by Zion Castaneda
The tasty secret of cacao (kah KOW) tree was discovered 2,000 years ago in the tropical rainforests of the Americas. The pods of this tree contain seeds that are processed into chocolate .The story how chocolate grew from a local Mesoamerican beverage into global sweet encompasses many cultures and continents. The first people known to have made chocolate were the ancient cultures of Mexico and Central America. These people, including the Maya and the Aztec, mixed cacao seeds with various seasonings to make a spicy, foamy drink. Later, the Spanish conquistadors brought the seeds back home to Spain, where new recipes were created. Eventually, and the drinkâ€™s popularity spread throughout Europe. Since then, new technologies and innovations have changed the texture and taste of chocolate, but it still remains one of the worldâ€™s favorite flavors.
The football sized pod of a cacao tree.
Chocolate from Cacao All the chocolate we eat comes from the cacao (kah KOW) tree. Cacao trees grow in the shade of the rainforests. Football-sized pods sprout from the trunk and branches of the tree.
Each pod holds 30 to 50 seeds. Thatâ€™s enough to make 7 milk chocolate bars.
Mayans and Aztecs Indians in Central and South America gathered cacao pods and ground the seeds on stone. They mixed the chocolate with cornmeal, spices, honey, and water to make a foamy drink.
High society people served the chocolate drink from specially designed cups.
Growing and Preparing As chocolate grew more popular, the harvesting and preparation of the cacao required slave labor. The steam-driven chocolate mill was invented in 1732. It made it easier to ground up cacao seeds and produce more chocolate for less money.
Chocolate to Europe The Spanish came to the Americas in the 1500s to conquer the Aztecs. They returned to Europe with new foods - corn, chile peppers, vanilla, potatoes, tomatoes, and cacao seeds. Wealthy Europeans drank hot chocolate for breakfast. Saucers were invented specifically to protect fine clothes from chocolate.
Chocolate Production The first chocolate factory in the US opened in 1765. Then the production of chocolate began to move at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world. In 1847, the Fry & Sons Company of Bristol, England , introduced the first chocolate bar meant for a snack.
Today chocolate is manufactured all around the world for baking, drinking, snacking and our enjoyment. Doctors even say dark chocolate is a healthy snack.