What is the origin of chocolate?
How were the first confectionery elaborations?
According to legend, cocoa was a gift from the gods to the peoples of Mesoamerica. It began by being taken as an energy drink, dark, thick, foamy and bitter that they called “tchocolatl” that was consumed only in ceremonies and social events of high importance. The cacao bean was so important that it became the only currency used to pay taxes to the Aztec empire. After the conquest of Mexico, the Spaniards made “Chocolate” known to Europe but mixed with cane sugar and cinnamon to give it a sweeter flavor.
Chocolate thus became an international social event that was even the reason for odes and songs. This drink became so popular that chocolate shops were opened so that European high society could feast on these flavors of the new continent. At that time, hot chocolate was drunk in monarchies throughout Europe.
Chocolate remained in a liquid state until the nineteenth century when it solidified. The solid chocolate melted in the mouth providing a new sensation of textures. This change led to the first confectionery elaborations and many advances in the industry.
One of the first inventions was made by an English engineer who tried to create chocolate under completely controlled conditions using a kind of mill. In Holland, another engineer managed to modernize the production of chocolate by extracting the fat content of cocoa beans using a hydraulic press. The chocolate industry improved with each invention that was made for the grinding and homogenization of chocolate with sugar. When the furor reached the United States, cocoa beans were first processed in Massachusetts in a factory that would later become Walter Baker & Co. Due to the importance that the chocolate industry was generating, a confectionery store was opened in Philadelphia, which would be one of the most important factories of that time – Hershey’s. To improve the quality and texture, a Swiss engineer finely crushed the cocoa, a process he called “conching” with which a more pleasant and mild flavor was obtained. Said invention, made this country had several decades of advantage, providing the fame that it still has today.
It is very common that we give chocolates on Valentine’s Day. You might think that we give them away because they are a treat that almost everyone likes, but there is more. Chocolate contains endorphins that generate a physical and emotional effect very similar to the one we have when we fall in love: in other words, we give love on the day of love! It also serves to take care of our heart because it helps to keep it healthy and facilitates good blood circulation.
What if we don’t have anyone to party with? Then, we can buy chocolates for ourselves because it favors the exchange of serotonin in the brain, which helps to feel happy. In addition, the antibacterial effects of cocoa exceed those of green tea and coffee by possessing a large amount of antioxidants.
Definitely, chocolate is a product that boys and girls like, regardless of their social level or sentimental situation. We can all pamper ourselves with its different flavors and presentations just because they are delicious.