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The Origins of Chocolate: Its History and Journey to Becoming a Popular Food

Chocolate has come a long way to become a favorite food today. The history of chocolate is divided into three parts, starting from its initial discovery, the spread of chocolate in Europe, to the development of chocolate throughout the world. Read more here.

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The first processed cocoa beans were not chocolate bars, but hot chocolate. This drink cannot be separated from the origins of chocolate when it was first discovered by ancient civilizations in Mesoamerica.

It doesn't feel right when you run a culinary business made of chocolate, but you don't know the origins of the raw materials. KioskCokelat will review the history of chocolate as an interesting reading for you to see. 'You don't know then you don't love', let's get acquainted with chocolate in more depth through the discussion below.

Know the Origin of Chocolate

Chocolate has come a long way to become a favorite food today. The history of chocolate is discussed in three parts, starting from its initial discovery, the spread of chocolate in Europe, to the development of chocolate throughout the world.

History of Chocolate in Mesoamerica

We all know that chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree. The history of chocolate cannot be separated from the discovery of this plant by the people of Mesoamerica (now known as Mexico) in 1,400 to 1,100 BC. At that time, cacao trees spread across the northern Amazon area, Central America, to Mexico.

The Olmecs, the oldest civilization in Central America, were the first people to process cocoa beans into chocolate. The hot chocolate drink is the world's first processed cocoa bean. Hot chocolate was consumed as part of rituals and as a medicine to cure various ailments.

Several centuries later, 500-450 BC to be exact, the Mayans who inhabited the area began to consume hot chocolate. Hot chocolate preparations are made in the form of a frothy liquid sprinkled with red pepper, vanilla and other types of spices.

This is where the term chocolate originated. Chocolate comes from the Nahuatl language, the language of the Aztecs, namely 'xocolatl' which means bitter water. Chocolate is believed to be a gift to Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god, so it is often consumed by warriors before plunging into battle.

Spread of Chocolate to Europe

Hernán Cortés, Spanish explorer, became the first European to taste chocolate while traveling to Mesoamerica in 1519. Montezuma, Emperor of the Aztecs, served chocolate drink to Cortés.

In 1528, Cortés returned to his homeland and introduced the drink. The hot chocolate was later modified with sugar, vanilla and cinnamon because the original version was very bitter and did not suit European palates.

Hot chocolate became popular among the French and English elites from the 1600s. The story begins with King Louis XIII who married Anne of Austria, daughter of King Felipe III of Spain. Anne introduced chocolate samples to the French Royal court as a sign of the union of the two countries.

Until then, chocolate was still consumed as a warm drink. It was only in 1847, Europeans began to produce solid chocolate. Unlike the chocolate drink, chocolate bars don't contain the Mesoamerican-style spices and leave only vanilla as an additional flavor.

Development of Chocolate Products in Indonesia

The presence of chocolate in Indonesia was brought by Spanish sailors in 1560. They brought with them the Criollo cacao plant which was first planted in North Sulawesi, where they anchored. The results were not fruitful because the cocoa plants in the area were vulnerable to pest attacks.

The success of cocoa cultivation in Indonesia was seen in 1880 with the presence of the Forastero variant of cocoa. This plant is superior because it is resistant to pest attacks than the Criollo type.

Now, chocolate is present in various forms in Indonesia. Chocolate is not only produced as food, but also a food ingredient that can be processed into a variety of dishes.

7 Interesting Facts About Chocolate

Chocolate also holds many interesting facts during its existence in this world. What interesting stories can be learned from this favorite food?

1. The Meaning of the Cocoa Tree

The cocoa plant has a Latin name, namely Theobroma cacao . This name has a deep meaning, namely 'cocoa, the food of the gods'.

2. Chocolate as a Means of Payment

The Mayans and Aztecs valued chocolate so much that they used it as a means of payment. No half-hearted, people to make a fake version of chocolate from clay.

3. There are 600 Flavor Components

The number of chocolate flavor components can reach more than 600. No wonder this product has a distinctive aroma. In comparison, red wine has only 200 flavor components.

4. Africa: Cocoa Production Center

Although found in Mesoamerica, the largest production of cocoa is on the African continent. This continent produces more than ⅔ of cocoa worldwide. Ivory Coast is the largest cocoa producing country, namely 40%.

5. Chocolate Cookies Invented Suddenly

When you hear chocolate cookies , you must imagine the appearance of choco chips on the surface. In fact, the cake design was invented without a recipe by Ruth Wakefield in 1930. The choco chips in the cookie dough stay intact even after stirring, resulting in the iconic cookies .

6. Chocolate Milk Was Invented in Jamaica

This favorite drink of all ages was created in Jamaica in the early 1700s. The English botanist, Sir Hans Sloane, obtained a chocolate drink from the landlord, then mixed it with milk to make it easier to consume.

7. People are Interested in Visiting Chocolate-Smelling Shops

This fact is sure to make you passionate about running a chocolate business. Research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology reviews that people are more interested in buying an item if there is the smell of chocolate around it. The reason, chocolate provides a pleasant sensation for shop visitors.

The origin of chocolate and the seven facts above are interesting to know, right? Chocolate has gone through long strides to become a food that is always awaited by anyone, including your consumers. Give the best taste in your chocolate dishes with premium chocolate ingredients from Embassy Chocolate. Contact KioskCokelat to consult about the best chocolate ingredients and get the products right now.