Chocolate Olden Days

Chocolate Olden Days
Aug 28, 2021

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“ Chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree. That makes it a plant. Thus, chocolate is salad. “

When talking about chocolate, we bet the first thing that comes straight to your mind must be a tempting chocolate bar with a deliciously sweet taste that melts once it gets into your mouth. Just the thought of it already makes us drool. However, did you know that the original chocolate was never in a solid form? Instead, it was consumed as a drink. A bitter drink to be exact. No sugar involved.

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First of all, let us explain this one basic thing to you that not everyone is aware of. For your information, CACAO, COCOA and CHOCOLATE are technically three different things. When people say cacao, it refers to the plant or its beans, while chocolate refers to everything that is made from the beans. As for the cocoa, it refers to chocolate in powdered form.

Now, where did chocolate come from? How come the first chocolate was actually appeared as a drink, not a chocolate bar? All this while we thought it was otherwise! Well guys, time to look back at the history. Long history we must say. According to, it is estimated that chocolate has been around for about 2000 years, but recent research suggests that it may actually be even older! It all started back in prehistoric time when Maya and Aztec civilizations were there.

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The earliest cacao plant was discovered in ancient Mesoamerica, which today is known as Mexico. The Olmec, one of Latin America's ancient civilizations, were the first to transform the cacao plant into chocolate. They utilized chocolate as medicinal and ceremonial drink. After centuries, the cacao usage was continued by Mayans, who had deep admiration for chocolate and thought of them as the drink of the gods. Mayan chocolate drink was made of roasted and ground cacao seeds combined with chili, cornmeal and water. They called this thick and frothy beverage as “xocolatlt” which meant “bitter water”. In Mayan culture, chocolate was available to all households and was enjoy with every meal as it was not solely reserved for the wealthy.

By the 15th century, the admiration towards chocolate was taken to another level. When Mayan thought of chocolate as the drink of the gods, Aztec believed that it was a gift given to them by their god. To them, cacao was more valuable compared to gold to the extent that it was used as a currency. It was mostly enjoyed by upper-class people while the lower classes enjoyed it occasionally during celebrations.

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Next, chocolate arrived in Spain. There is a theory that said Christopher Columbus was the one who found cacao beans after intercepting a trade ship on a journey to America. He brought the beans back to Spain in 1502. However, another theory believed that it was Hernan Cortes (an explorer) who brought chocolate to Spain in 1528. In his search for gold, he got introduced to a cup of cocoa by the Aztec emperor. Cortes then brought the cacao seeds back to Spain and introduced them to Spanish. In Spain, chocolate was still served as a drink except that added sugar and honey to it to sweeten the bitter taste.

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Day by day, chocolate got more and more popular. It was brought to France and the rest of the Europe. During 1773, cacao had become a large American colony import and it was enjoyed by people from all walks of life. In 1828, which was in the same timing of Industrial Revolution, the process of chocolate making got revolutionized. Van Houten (some said his father) invented a cocoa press. The machine would separate cocoa butter from roasted cocoa beans to a fine cocoa powder.  Later in 1847, the first chocolate bar was created. Cocoa powder was mixed with sugar, chocolate liquor and cocoa butter and solidified into a chocolate bar. However, the bar was still hard and difficult to chew. Thus in 1879, Rudolf Lindt, a Swiss chocolatier invented a machine that was able to mix and aerate the chocolate, resulting in a smooth edible chocolate bar. There goes the birth of the modern era of chocolate.

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  • Cocoa consumed during pregnancy makes babies more cheerful.
  • During World War I and II, soldiers were issued chocolate rations due to its high energy content.
  • The cocoa bean contains over 500 different aromas.
  • Flavonoids in the cocoa bean prevent the free radicals that cause ageing.
  • Cocoa butter has been used by the cosmetics industry for a very long time due to its skin cleansing, replenishing and protecting properties.
  • Dark chocolate that does not contain any milk is cholesterol-free.
  • The caffeine and theobromine contained in chocolate are dangerous to dogs.


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