The true history of chocolate is both interesting and intriguing. Discover the origins of chocolate and appreciate one of the blessings that comes straight from God.
Although history was not my best subject, I would have loved chocolate history! Chocolate is a wonderful "invention." I am so glad God thought of it when he was making all those different trees!
That's right! Chocolate is made from the bean of the Cacao tree. Its official scientific name is Theobroma Cacao. Believe it or not, the name means "food of the gods." Who can argue with that?
If you have ever wondered about the origins of chocolate, you may have been surprised to find that chocolate grows on trees.
As a child, I remember my parents saying that money doesn't grow on trees. I used to dream of having my own money tree.
Little did I realize at that time that chocolate really does grow on trees. I would have been dreaming of chocolate trees instead!
The Cacao tree loves the tropics so it only grows near the Equator. You can find Cacao trees in South America, Mexico, Africa, the Caribbean Islands, and Central America.
The cacao tree produces fruit pods that turn orange, red, or yellow when they are ripe. Inside each of those pods is between 20-50 cacao beans. In America we generally call them cocoa beans.
The cocoa bean is dried in the sun and then has its center removed. It is the center part that is ground up and used to make my favorite sweet, chocolate!
It really is quite a painstaking process that involves a lot of time, energy, and good old-fashioned hard work. I wonder if those early laborers realized they were making chocolate history!
When the cocoa bean is ground, it transforms into a liquid called chocolate liquor. At this point, the chocolate is still unsweetened. To continue its transformation, the chocolate liquor is pressed to separate the fat. The fat part is called the cocoa butter.
Guess what's left? The powder - that's what we call cocoa powder.
These basic ingredients from the cocoa bean are combined with other ingredients to make the different types of chocolate that we enjoy today.
The Field Museum in Chicago has a few fun interactive pages on the true history of chocolate and I think you'll have fun checking them out.
Chocolate history seems to differ depending on which account you read - -
I find that to be true on most topics I research. Since none of us
were really there when chocolate made its journey to our shores, I guess
we just have to take the facts with a grain of salt, or in this case,
You may wonder how chocolate came to be available all over the world rather than just near the equator. Cocoa beans were originally ground and placed in hot water to make hot chocolate.
It has been said that Hernando Cortes, a Spanish general, was given this hot chocolate by the Aztecs while he was in Mexico in 1519. Cortes, reportedly, brought some of the cocoa beans back to Spain with him where it was sweetened up with a little sugar and vanilla. As a drink, it became very popular all over Europe.
Now, for another version of events in the debate over the true history of chocolate. Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing cocoa beans back to Spain about 17 years earlier, in 1502.
Apparently, Columbus discovered not only America, but also, cocoa beans in the cargo of a canoe that he had apprehended. Allegedly, he brought the beans back to Spain with him, but they didn't really become popular until later, probably when Cortes came home with them.
Well, whoever was the first to popularize chocolate, I'm just extremely grateful that someone did! I love it! I love it! I love it!