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History of Chocolate

 

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Nataly Nazarenko - Fotolia.co.uk

 

Go to:   Main History Index Page  |  History of World Cuisines   |   Origins of Ingredients

 

 

The eating of chocolate has long been associated with love.  Apparently, the Aztec emperor, Monteczuma (c1502) drank fifty cups of chocolate a day to enhance his ardour.

 

Chocolate contains Phenylethylamine and Serotonin both of which also occur naturally in the human brain. These mood lifting substances are released into the nervous system when we are happy and when we are experiencing feelings of passion creating a a rise in blood pressure and heart rate and inducing a feeling of well being.  So, when you need a lift - eat chocolate!

 

 

History of Chocolate

 

1502 - Christopher Columbus introduces chocolate to Spain from his fourth voyage to the New World in 1502 but not as the product we know today. It was only consumed as a drink. The word "chocolate" was derived from the Aztec word xocolatl which means bitter water.


1615 Anne of Austria (wife of Louis XIII) declares chocolate as the drink of the French Court , although this was only after much skepticism, as initially it was considered a "barbarous product and noxious drug".

 

1640 chocolate finds its way to England, among other European countries.

 

1657-  the drink becomes a best seller in England and excessive duties are imposed on chocolate. It takes almost 200 years before the duty is dropped.


1828 - Dutch chocolate maker Conrad J. Van Houten created the hydraulic cocoa press. The press enabled chocolate makers to crush the "nibs," or centers, of roasted cacao beans into a paste (Chocolate Liquor). After crushing, some of the cocoa butter was extracted.

 

1848 - English chocolate maker Joseph Storrs Fry created the first eating chocolate by further refining the cocoa, adding sugar, and mixing the cocoa butter back in. 

 

1875  -  Swiss Daniel Peter added condensed milk  to  chocolate and marketed the first solid milk chocolate bar.

 

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Chocolate in cooking

 

When using chocolate for culinary purposes, use as  high a quality as you can afford - i.e. containing  higher proportions of cocoa solids,  preferably 40% for milk chocolate and 70% for dark chocolate. This information can usually be found in the ingredients section on the label.

 

Be very careful when melting chocolate as too high a heat can make it split. Therefore always melt in a heatproof bowl over very hot water in a small saucepan. It can also be successfully melted in the microwave using a medium setting.

 

For more information about chocolate visit our Chocolate ingredient analysis page.

 

Chocolate Recipes

For lots chocolate recipes visit the Chocolate Recipes page or go to the Search Page and type in chocolate.

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