L'histoire du chocolat - Cuisine d'Espagne

The history of chocolate

Dec 13, 2022

Where does chocolate come from?

Since ancient times, chocolate has been a drink produced from cocoa beans. Originating in Mexico, where the Aztecs crushed the seeds to make a beverage known as “tchocolatl,” chocolate’s popularity has spread around the world over the centuries.

The origin of chocolate

The origin of chocolate in the world is linked to the discovery of the benefits of cocoa in ancient times, when the Aztecs of Mexico crushed the seeds and prepared a drink called "chocolatl". This drink was offered by the natives to the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés after he landed on the eastern coast of that country in 1519, as part of a celebration, believing that he was the reincarnation of Quetzalcóalt, the Aztec god who had promised to return to his land.

Under this belief, the Aztecs offered the Spaniards their most prized drink, composed of a kind of paste extracted from the cocoa bean and other spices, which flavored and offered a different taste to the preparation. The drink was so delicious and pleasing to the palates of the Spaniards that some time later it was introduced and presented in this country, charming and seducing kings and princesses.

What was initially considered an exclusive drink for the privileged economic classes of Spain, slowly became a liquid coveted by all social strata, even changing its pronunciation.

In the 1600s, people began grinding large quantities of cocoa in mills, thus producing more chocolate and reducing the cost. In the 1700s, a steam-powered chocolate grinder was invented, allowing factories to quickly produce tons of chocolate at an affordable price.

To these historical facts are added other events such as the first mechanical production of chocolate in Barcelona (Spain) in 1777, the creation of the first chocolate factory in 1819 by the Swiss François-Louis Cailler, the invention of hazelnut chocolate in 1830 by the Swiss Charles Amédée and the production of the first chocolate bars by the British company Fry & Sons in 1847.

Other important events have been added to the fabulous history of chocolate: the creation of the first milk chocolate by the Swiss Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé in 1875, the marketing of the first reasonably priced chocolate bar by the Hershey company in 1894 and the creation of the first candy or filled chocolate by the Belgian manufacturers Neuhaus.

From then until today, chocolate has been reinvented by factories and artisans, who added various spices and dried fruits, which are easily found in shops, fairs and chocolate salons, at any price and in any presentation. Today, chocolate experts and scientists around the world have confirmed that the best chocolate comes from Venezuelan criollo cocoa beans, which give it an incomparable and unique flavor.

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