The Sweet History of Chocolate

Chocolate was long considered the “food of the gods,” and later, a delicacy for the elite. But for most of its history, it was actually consumed as a bitter beverage rather than the sweet, edible treat it has become worldwide. Produced from the seeds of tropical cacao trees native to the rainforests of central and south America.

Archaeologists have discovered the earliest traces of cacao in pottery used by the ancient Mayo-Chinchipe culture 5,300 years ago in the upper Amazon region of Ecuador.

Introduction of chocolate in Europe

Chocolate arrived in Europe during the 1500s, likely brought by both Spanish friars and conquistadors who had traveled to the Americas. Chocolate remained aristocratic nectar until the 1828 invention of the cocoa press revolutionized its production. The cocoa press squeezed the fatty butter from roasted cacao beans, leaving behind a dry cake that could be pulverized into a fine powder that could be mixed with liquids and other ingredients, poured into molds, and solidified into edible, easily digestible chocolate. 

How is chocolate made?

Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia and grows in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America. Since cacao tree seeds have a very intense, bitter taste, they must be fermented to develop the flavor