The History of Chocolate

Jacquie Cattanach
As an avid runner, Jacquie is driven to challenge herself and break new boundaries in her workouts. Jacquie loves writing about anything to do with running on her blog – Online Running Gear dot com. Always looking to try to something new, Jacquie researches and writes detailed, informative reviews on products she recommends such as P90X and the jeep overland limited stroller. When not travelling and finding new cities to run in, Jacquie lives in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia with her husband and daughter which, by the way, is another great place to go for a run.
Jacquie Cattanach
Jacquie Cattanach

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Jacquie Cattanach
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History of ChocolateChocolate has been called the divine substance and the gift of the gods. And really, who can argue with that? Chocolate has become the world’s favourite dessert food and an outright obsession for many chefs and food connoisseurs alike. But it hasn’t always been this way. Until the mid 1500s no one in Europe had even heard of chocolate and it was a full 300 years after that that chocolate achieved mass appeal.

So where did chocolate come from and how did this worldwide obsession with chocolate begin?

Chocolate: Times Gone By

We can trace the origins of chocolate back more than 2,000 years to the time of the ancient Mayans. They discovered that the pods of the cacao tree could be ground up with other spices such as chilli peppers and corn meal to make a delicious, though somewhat bitter beverage. Cacao seeds were offered as gifts to the gods and used in a number of ancient rituals.

By the height of the Aztec Empire, around the year 1400, cacao was a major commodity which was traded between the Aztecs, the Mayans and others. The Aztecs would often require that the people they conquered pay tribute in the form of cacao seeds. These seeds were so valuable that the Aztecs eventually used them as a form of currency.

A Royal Affair With Chocolate

When Columbus discovered America, the Spanish were eager to introduce the beverage to Europe and its fame quickly spread. It was so expensive that only the wealthy could afford it and so sweetened chocolate became a symbol of status and nobility. In France, chocolate was exclusively reserved for members of the royal court.

It wasn’t until the 1800s that chocolate

became a food for the masses. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, chocolate had to be hand-made and required huge amounts of time and labour to make. During the 1800s, the cocoa press and conching machine made it possible to mass produce chocolate in a form that could be eaten, rather than as a beverage.

Despite the mechanical advances, cacao is still grown in much the same way it was 2,500 years ago. It only grows in tropical climates, today mostly in West Africa, and is still harvested, dried and roasted by hand.

Chocolate: Not Only For Eating

What has changed is the way cacao is used today. It’s not only the world’s number one dessert, with an ever widening variety of recipes and versatility as a food, it’s used in a number of non-food applications as well, such as cosmetics and medicine.

In fact, despite the common myth that chocolate can cause acne, chocolate is actually good for the skin and maybe even help get rid of acne. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that improve the health of your skin. It also seems to provide some protection from the damage caused by UV rays and overexposure to the sun.

In its latest form of decadence, chocolate can be used as a bath to improve the feel, tone and texture of your skin. The chemicals in chocolate can also have a medical benefit. These chemicals not only act as a cure for acne, but also help lower blood pressure, improve cognitive ability and lower cholesterol.

But of course, if you’re like me, you’ll agree that the greatest of all of chocolate’s benefits is the taste! There’s nothing like chocolate to give you that divine taste sensation that’s unmatched by anything else!

Comments

  1. I went to Modica in Sicily last year and saw chocolate being made Aztec style. quite different, no heat – more like the ‘raw’ chocolate sold over here. Very good though!!
    Fiona Maclean recently posted…Patchi Chocolates at HarrodsMy Profile

  2. They used to tell me, chocolate was the number 1 cause of acne. I did not eat chocolate for many years. Too bad this article was not there 19 years ago.

  3. Bobby Tates says:

    I didn’t know about the conching machine. I teach American History and we focus on the Industrial Revolution, but now I can bring in this part reflecting more Central American History for my students. What a delicious way to make it more related to them.

  4. Hey Jacquie,
    Thanks for sharing this information with us. I have no knowledge of history of chocolate but after reading this post, it enhance my knowledge. Using of chocolate in non food application is really new thing for me.
    Sudipto recently posted…Best Android Phone Under 20000My Profile

  5. Nice post and the topic you have choose is adorable. History of chocolate, I never thought about the history of chocolate and never go through web to search for this. But you have nicely written everything about the history of this. Nice work.
    Keep it up! :-)
    Prakash recently posted…Download Whatsapp for Windows 7/8/8.1My Profile

  6. One really good thing about chocolate is there are so many different styles and things that can be doe with it. The possibilities are endless.

  7. I only know one Main use of Chocolate.
    Girls like chocolate so much and it is lovely to give them when they are mad at you :D

  8. Hello Jacquie,Truly , I never thought about the origin of chocolate before. All the time when I eat choco, I lost in its taste and stop thinking hahaha.. Thanks for sharing lovely post. I love chocolate.
    Mahendra recently posted…Nokia Lumia 530 Specs,price & release date confirmed (Rock)My Profile

  9. @ Jacquie Cattanach

    Great topic and post. Chocolate has come a long way, from the 70s, to Wily Wonka, to now! I love Choc, matter of fact, I may go buy a pack just because of this post!
    J. Wright recently posted…Gucci Embellished bamboo cuff: Eye CandyMy Profile

  10. Hello Jacquie,

    Succint and concise history I must say…sometimes, one takes something without knowing the roots or how exactly it came about…I enjoyed the history provided in a very great fashion.

    Always,
    Terungwa
    Akaahan Terungwa recently posted…HOW TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE WRITING EBOOKSMy Profile

  11. Chocolate? I’ve only tasted it once. But what i do know is, a girl best friend is chocolate :)
    Babanature recently posted…How Do I Get My Google Adsense Payment Straight to My Bank Account? a Perfect SolutionMy Profile

  12. Peter (aka Sire) says:

    Can be used as a bath? Man, that would take an awful lot of melted chocolate. You wouldn’t want to fall asleep in the bath or the chocolate would set and you’d be stuck. Oh well, I suppose you could eat your way out. After all, it is supposed to be good for you :D

  13. A very interesting read. I didn’t realise chocolate had such a built up history. Thanks for sharing!

  14. You see! This is why I love chocolate. Not only does it taste good, but it has a host of health benefits. Love it!

    Cheers!
    Warren

  15. Wow! I had no idea that chocolate is now used in cosmetics. I also didn’t know about its rarity until the 1800s either. You learn something new everyday. Thanks for sharing. I can now justify to my family why I’m eating more chocolate :-)

    Thanks,
    Laura
    Laura recently posted…Family Reunion IdeasMy Profile

  16. Hey Jacquie
    Thanks for being such a die hard fan for chocolates..actually it was the chocolate not the APPLE in the story of ADAM -EVE..and now one also choose carrier in the field of chocotharapy.

  17. Yummmmmmy!!! Chocolate helps me to get the stress out. Chocolate is not only nutritious but also great tasting. Thank you for your time to inform us about history of Chocolate. I found it very informative. Thanks again.
    somon recently posted…Retrica for pc or Windows 8, 7 & XP computerMy Profile

  18. I am a choclate lover and eating choclates from my child hood. Till now i donno about the history of the chocolate. Now i am feeling great as i came to know about the history of chocolate through this post.
    lakshman Teja recently posted…Sites to Download Cracked iPAS for iPad iPhone iOSMy Profile

  19. Thank Jacquie.
    I love chocolate. haha. I eat them everyday and my children love it too ;-) Good Article. I love it
    Hai recently posted…Social Lead Wizard ReviewMy Profile

  20. I just love chocolate in each and every form.
    Prerna recently posted…Acne Treatment & Cure with BITTER GOURD – KARELAMy Profile

  21. Hi Jacquie,
    I love chocolate too. I have cut way down though and try to stick to a more healthy chocolate like maybe 80% cacao. Hershey bars don’t cut it for me any more.

    I was told as a kid chocolate causes acne. Now I know better.

    Thanks for an informative article. Best wishes!
    Rich recently posted…48 Hour Juice Cleanse ResultsMy Profile

  22. Many ppl loves chocolate. Me included. Still, can’t believe it has been around for more than 2,000 years. Gosh! Nobody suffer diabetes or high cholesterol during those time?

  23. Anthony says:

    I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate because it contains antioxidants and it generally contains less sugar.

  24. Hello there,
    really great article. I am a great chocolate lover and I love chocolates so much. This article helped me in gaining the knowledge about chocolate. Thanks for this article.
    Alan recently posted…Telegram for PC Download, Telegram Messenger for Windows 7/8 PCMy Profile

  25. Honestly, I’ve never been much a fan of chocolate. :(
    Adam recently posted…Gatlinburg Weddings in the Beautiful Great Smoky MountainsMy Profile

  26. I love chocolates, but am concerned about its sugar and fat contents.
    Ismail N recently posted…Sizzling Yin Min Mee @ Home’s Cafe & RestaurantMy Profile

  27. l love chocolates so its nice to get info about history of chocolate.
    Rahul Biswal recently posted…Tools For Testing Website Speed and PerformanceMy Profile

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