History of chocolate
The history of chocolate began in Mesoamerica. Chocolate, the fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao, can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people, with evidence of cocoa beverages dating back to 1900 BC.
Chocolate played a special role in both Mayan and Aztec royal and religious events. Priests presented cocoa beans as offerings to the gods and served cocoa drinks during sacred ceremonies. All of the areas that were conquered by the Aztecs that grew cocoa beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a "tribute".
The Europeans sweetened and lightened the drink by adding refined sugar and milk, ingredients the people in Mesoamerica did not use. By contrast, Europeans never integrated it into their general diet, but compartmentalized its use for sweets and desserts. In the 19th century, Briton John Cadbury developed an emulsification process to make solid chocolate, creating the modern chocolate bar.
For hundreds of years, the chocolate making process remained unchanged. When the Industrial Revolution arrived, many changes occurred that brought the hard, sweet candy to life. In the 18th century, mechanical mills were created that squeezed out cocoa butter, which in turn helped to create hard, durable chocolate. But it was not until the arrival of the Industrial Revolution that these mills were put to bigger use. Not long after the revolution cooled down, companies began advertising this new invention to sell many of the chocolate treats seen today. When new machines were produced, people began experiencing and consuming chocolate worldwide.
How the word "chocolate" came into Spanish is not certain. Perhaps the most cited explanation is that "chocolate" comes from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, from the word "chocolatl", which many sources derived from the Nahuatl word "xocolatl" (pronounced [ ʃoˈkolaːtɬ]) made up from the words "xococ" meaning "sour" or "bitter", and "atl" meaning "water" or "drink".
However, as William Bright noted, the word "chocolatl" doesn't occur in central Mexican colonial sources, making this an unlikely derivation. Santamaria gives a derivation from the Yucatec Maya word "chokol" meaning "hot", and the Nahuatl "atl" meaning "water". More recently Dakin and Wichman derive it from another Nahuatl term, "chicolatl" from Eastern Nahuatl meaning "beaten drink". They derive this term from the word for the frothing stick, "chicoli". The word xocoatl means "beverage of maize". The words "cacaua atl" mean "drink of cocoa". The word "xocolatl" does not appear in Molina's dictionary.
Chocolate timeline history
2000 BC, Amazon: Cocoa, from which chocolate is created, is said to have originated in the Amazon at least 4,000 years ago. Cultivation, use, and cultural elaboration of cocoa were early and extensive in Mesoamerica. Ceramic vessels with residue from the preparation of cocoa beverages have been found at archaeological sites dating back to the Early Formative (1900-900 BC) period. For example, one such vessel found at an Olmec archaeological site on the Gulf Coast of Veracruz, Mexico dates cocoa's preparation by pre-Olmec people to as early as 1750 BC. On the Pacific coast of Chiapas, Mexico, a Mokaya archaeological site provides evidence of cacao beverages dating even earlier, to 1900 BC.
Some anonymous manuscripts describe another way the Aztecs prepared cocoa as a beverage. The description of the cocoa drink's preparation process states that, initially, the cocoa beans were ground to powder. During grinding other ingredients (such as seeds or corn) were added. The resulting powder was mixed with cold water and stirred with a spoon until the foam rose by airing the mixture. Sometimes cocoa was prepared not as a beverage, but as a porridge, to which was added cereals such as nixtamalised maize or other ingredients like chili peppers. The Aztecs knew the drink by abbreviations such as cacahoaquahuitl ('tree cocoa'), mecacaohatl or tlalcacaoahoatl.
- 6th century: Chocolate, derived from the seed of the cocoa tree, is used by the Mayan Culture, as early as the Sixth Century AD.
- 300, Mayan Culture: To the Mayas, cocoa pods symbolized life and fertility. Stones from their palaces and temples reveal many carved pictures of cocoa pods.
- 600, Mayan Culture: Moving from Central America to the northern portions of South America, the Mayan territory stretches from the Yucatán Peninsula to the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. In the Yucatán, the Mayans cultivate the earliest known cocoa plantations. The cocoa pod is often represented in religious rituals, and their literature refers to cocoa as the god’s food.
- 1200, Aztec culture: The Aztecs attribute the creation of the cocoa plant to their god Quetzalcoatl, who descended from heaven on a beam of a morning star carrying a cocoa tree stolen from paradise. In both the Mayan and Aztec cultures cocoa is the basis for a thick, cold, unsweetened drink called xocoatl, believed to be a health elixir. Since sugar is unknown to the Aztecs, different spices are used to add flavour, even hot chili peppers and corn meal are used.
- 15th century, the Aztec empire takes over a sizable part of Mesoamerica. They trade with Mayans and other peoples for cocoa and often require that citizens and conquered people pay their tribute in cocoa seeds — a form of Aztec money. Pueblo people, who live in an area that is now the U.S. Southwest, import cocoa from Mesoamerican cultures in southern Mexico or Central America between 900 to 1400. This is used in a common beverage consumed by everyone in their society.
- Father José de Acosta mentions how he made it in New Spain and Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo refers to techniques applied in the Gulf of Nicoya and Chira Island (both in Costa Rica). In them, the "almond toast" is ground and allowed to cook in water until a layer of oil floated (the cocoa butter), which is distributed among the guests. This golden-yellow oil, is dyed during milling with a food colouring that adds a reddish colour to the final beverage. The greasy, dark and bitter drink is an acquired taste in pre-Columbian societies.
- 1502, Columbus lands in Nicaragua: He is the first European to discover cocoa beans being used as currency, and to make a drink, as in the Aztec culture. Christopher Columbus brings some cocoa beans to show Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, but it is Spanish friars who introduce it to Europe more broadly.
- 1513, A slave is bought for beans: Hernando de Oviedo y Valdez, who went to America in 1513 as a member of Pedrarias Avila's expedition, reports that he bought a slave for 100 cocoa beans. According to Hernando de Oviedo y Valdez 10 cocoa beans buys the services of a prostitute, and 4 cocoa beans gets you a rabbit for dinner. At this time, the name of the drink changes to Chocolatl from the Mayan word xocoatl [chocolate] and the Aztec word for "water", or "warm liquid".
- 1519, Hernán Cortés begins a plantation: Hernán Cortés, who conquered part of Mexico in 1519, has a vision of converting these beans to golden doubloons. While he is fascinated with the Aztec's bitter, spicy beverage, he is also much intrigued by the beans’ value as currency. Later, Cortés establishes a cocoa plantation in the name of Spain, henceforth, "money" will be cultivated. It is the birth of what is to be a very profitable business.
Introduction to the outside world
- 1528, Chocolate arrives in Spain: Cortés presents the Spanish King, Charles V with cocoa beans from the New World and the necessary tools for its preparation. Cortés later inspires a major breakthrough: He postulates that if this bitter beverage were to be blended with sugar, it could become quite a delicacy. The Spaniards mix the beans with sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. The results are tantalizing, coveted, fashionable, and reserved for the Spanish nobility. This creates a demand for the fruits of his Spanish plantations. Chocolate is a secret that Spain manages to keep from the rest of the world for almost one hundred years.
- 1569, Pope Pius V, who does not like chocolate, declares that drinking chocolate on Friday does not break the fast.
- 1585, The first shipment of beans intended for the market make it to Spain.
- 1609, The first book devoted entirely to chocolate, Libro en el cual se trata del chocolate, is written in Mexico.
- 1615, Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III of Spain, introduces the beverage to her new husband, Louis XIII of France, and to the French court.
- 1643, The French court embraces chocolate: When the Spanish Princess Maria Theresa is betrothed to Louis XIV of France, she gives her fiancee an engagement gift of chocolate, packaged in an ornate chest.
- 1650, The chocolate craze which now includes candy takes hold in Paris and then conquers the rest of France. Chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac flourishes in the French court. Art and literature is thick with erotic imagery inspired by chocolate.
- 1657, The first chocolate house opens in London.
- 1674, An avant-garde London coffee house uses chocolate in cakes and rolls for the first time.
- 1677, November 1, Brazil, later to achieve an important position in the world market, establishes its first cocoa plantations.
- 1689, Noted physician and collector Hans Sloane develops a milk chocolate drink in Jamaica which is initially used by apothecaries, but later sold to the Cadbury brothers. London chocolate houses become trendy meeting places where elite London society savour their new luxury.
- 1704, Chocolate makes its appearance in Germany, and Frederick I of Prussia reacts by imposing a tax.
- 1711, Chocolate migrates to Vienna: Emperor Charles VI transfers his court from Madrid to Vienna and along with his Court, comes chocolate.
- 1730, The transition is hastened by the advent of a perfected steam engine, which mechanised the cocoa grinding process. By 1730, chocolate has dropped in price from three dollars or more per pound to within the financial reach of all.
- 1755, Chocolate makes its appearance in The United States.
- 1765, First chocolate factory in the USA: The production of chocolate proceeds at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world. It is in pre-revolutionary New England.
- 1780, The first machine-made chocolate is produced in Barcelona.
- 1792, In Germany, the Josty brothers from Grisons open a chocolate factory in Berlin.
- 1810, A survey shows that Venezuela produces half of the world's chocolate. One-third is consumed by the Spanish.
- 1819, As cocoa plantations spread to the tropics in both hemispheres, the increased production lowers the price of cocoa beans and chocolate becomes a popular and affordable beverage.
- 1828, Amsterdam: Casparus van Houten invents the cocoa press and produces the first cocoa powder. The powder leads to reduced prices and makes chocolate beverages both easier to make and more pleasant to drink. By mixing the cocoa powder with sugar and then remixing it with cocoa butter, he creates solids closely resembling modern chocolate.
- 1830s, Caspar's son Coenraad Johannes van Houten introduces Dutch process chocolate, the basis for much of modern chocolate, by treating cocoa powder with alkaline salts.
- 1839, German company Jordan & Timaeus in Dresden, Saxony produces the world's first milk chocolate.
- 1847, The J. S. Fry & Sons chocolate factory, located in Union Street, Bristol, England, moulds a chocolate bar suitable for widespread consumption.
- 1851, The first time citizens of the United States are introduced to bonbons, chocolate creams, hard candies (called "boiled sweets") and caramels.
- 1875, Milk chocolate comes of age: After eight years of experimentation, Daniel Peter from Switzerland puts the first milk chocolate on the market.
- 1879, Rodolphe Lindt of Berne, Switzerland, invents "conching", a means of heating and rolling chocolate to refine it. After chocolate has been conched for 72 hours and has more cocoa butter added to it, chocolate becomes "fondant" and thus it melts in the mouth.
- 1900, Switzerland takes the leadership role: Spain, where chocolate was first introduced to Europeans, falls far behind. Germany consumes the most per head, followed by the United States, France and Great Britain.
- 1913, Jules Sechaud of Montreux of Switzerland introduces the process for filling chocolates.
- 1923, The CMA is established
- 1938, World War II: The U.S. government recognises chocolate's role in the Allied Armed Forces. It allocates valuable shipping space for the importation of cocoa beans which will give many weary soldiers strength. Today, the U.S. Army D-rations include three 4-ounce chocolate bars. Chocolate has even been taken into space as part of the diet of U.S. astronauts.
- List of English words of Nahuatl origin
- Alonso de Molina's dictionary of 1571 and of 1555
- History of yerba mate
- Terry G. Powis, W. Jeffrey Hurst, María del Carmen Rodríguez, Ponciano Ortíz C., Michael Blake, David Cheetham, Michael D. Coe & John G. Hodgson (December 2007). "Oldest chocolate in the New World". Antiquity 81 (314). ISSN 0003-598X. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
- Justin Kerr. "Chocolate: A Mesoamerican Luxury 1200—1521 - Obtaining Cacao". Field Museum. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- Justin Kerr. "Chocolate: A Contemporary Confection 1750—1910 - Making Chocolate". Field Museum. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- Justin Kerr. "Chocolate: A Contemporary Confection 1750—1910 - Using Chocolate". Field Museum. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- "The American Heritage Dictionary". Retrieved 9 May 2009.[dead link]
- This "bitter" is translation from "agrio" in Spanish. It is a paraphrase for "acid". "Bitter" for chocolate is "amargo" in Spanish. See also :"Confusion in the use of the taste adjectives ‘sour’ and ‘bitter’"(Oxford Journals)
- Campbell, Lyle. Quichean Linguistic Prehistory; University of California Publications in Linguistics No. 1. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 104.
- Santamaria, Francisco. Diccionario de Mejicanismos. Mexico: Editorial Porrúa S. A. pp. 412–413.
- Dakin, Karen; Wichmann, Soren (2000). "Cacao and Chocolate A Uto-Aztecan perspective". Ancient Mesoamerica (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 11 (1): 55–75. doi:10.1017/S0956536100111058.
- Molina, Fray Alonso de (1977). Vocabulario en Lengua Castellana y Mexicana y Mexicana y Castellana. Edicion Facsimile. Mexico: Editorial Porrua, S.A. p. 10.
- Bogin, B. (1997), The evolution of human nutrition. The Anthropology of Medicine: From Culture to Method, Romanucci-Ross, L., Moerman, D. E. & Tancredi, L. R eds., Bergin and Garvey, Westport, CT, pp. 98–142
- Bernardino de Sahagún, (1585), Historia general de las cosas de la Nueva España, Book 11, chapter 6, paragraph 7.
- "Pueblo traded for chocolate big-time | Humans". Science News. 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
- Justin Kerr. "Chocolate: A European Sweet - 1600-1750 - Using Chocolate". Field Museum. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- "About Hans Sloane". Natural History Museum. Retrieved 8 June 2007.
- Mitteldeutschland: Wer hats erfunden (german)