Interesting facts about cacao

Chocolate… Brief History

Where does chocolate come from?

Today it’s almost impossible to meet a person who would not know what chocolate is, and still we rarely think of its origin. Chocolate does have a rich history, as people have been drinking it for thousands of years. If we dig into it, we come across amazing intricacies and twists of fortune of humble cacao beans...

2000 years ago Mayas and Aztecs found a way to produce chocolate from the seeds of the cacao tree that grew in Central America. Since then this magic potion made its long way to find its worshippers all around the world.

The first chocolate drink made by the ancient Central American tribes would probably not please today’s tastes since it was a cold bubbly spicy drink, very different from the sweet, velvety smooth drink we are all familiar with. It consisted of cacao beans, water, chili pepper, cereals and some other ingredients. It was not until chocolate was brought to Spain by the first colonialists that the recipe was modified. Spices were replaced by sugar and the beverage was served hot instead of cold.

During the Industrial revolution chocolate started to be used for the production of chocolate bars and candies. The new era began.

Did you know that ...

... chocolate contains mood-lifting agents, the very same ones that your organism produces naturally when you are happy or in love?

... chocolate is a great source of antioxidants that help your organism resist stress and pollution?

…World War II combat troops were rationed chocolate bars as their only source of food because they are a highly concentrated source of energy due to its cocoa powder and sugar content?

…the scientific name of cacao trees is ‘Theobroma cacao’ which translates from ancient Greek as ‘food of the gods’? These trees can grow up to 15 metres.

... the first chocolate drink was bitter?

... cacao beans used to be a currency? They would once even be given as a dowry when members of the Spanish Royal Family married other European aristocrats.

…for some time, chocolate was a state monopoly in France and could be consumed only by members of the royal court in France?

… the first Chocolate House (a place very similar to a modern café) was opened in London in 1657? Hot chocolate used to be so expensive that it was considered a drink for the elite!

... the recipe of chocolate drink was kept a secret by the Spaniards for almost 100 years before the rest of European countries discovered it?

… chocolate contains chemical substances that can be extracted and used in cosmetics and medicine?

... the word ‘chocolate’ comes from the Aztec word ‘xocolatl’ which means ‘bitter water’?

…since 1995 the whole world celebrates the Day of Chocolate on the 11 of July?

Believe it or not...