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The History Behind Chocolate

1st Nov 2015

Oh sweet chocolate! Where would we be without you? Sweet, sweet chocolate.

The history of chocolate, like chocolate itself, is rich and complex. Starting from its humble beginnings in Mesoamerica, chocolate is now available for purchase online. Let’s dive into the history behind the world’s favorite treat!

Humble Beginnings in Mesoamerica

Chocolate is derived from the cocoa tree. The tree is native to Central and South America, and cocoa is rendered from the tree’s seeds - cocoa beans. Upon the discovery of the delicious potential within the cocoa tree, indigenous Mesoamericans began fermenting, roasting, and grinding cocoa beans to form chocolate. Evidence suggests that chocolate production started around 1900 BC. The first chocolate consumed was likely consumed as a beverage. Chocolate was often mixed with spice or combined with wine into a frothy beverage.

Now this certainly wasn’t modern chocolate. Early chocolate was bitter, and only in Europe did sweet chocolate first appear.

Chocolate Comes to Europe

We can thank the Europeans for giving us modern chocolate. Europeans, upon receiving shipments of chocolate for the first time in the 16th century AD, started the tradition of adding sugar to cocoa. Spaniards were the first to bring chocolate across the ocean from Central America back to Spain. In fact, Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter the great cocoa bean. In 1502, Christopher Columbus made his fourth trip across the Atlantic to Central America. He and his son Ferdinand noted that the native population greatly valued the cocoa bean. Cocoa beans were gathered and shipped across the Atlantic where they would gain popularity after being consumed as chocolate by the Spanish court.

Again, chocolate was still consumed in liquid form, and the advent of solid chocolate wouldn’t come until 1847. Early chocolatiers perfected modern chocolate preparation, deriving solid chocolate by adding salt and removing a portion of chocolate’s natural fat - the cacao butter. Shortly thereafter, Joseph Fry made chocolate solid and moldable by reintroducing melted cacao butter back into the mix.

Modern Chocolate

Modern chocolate is wonderous. Chocolatiers around the world have developed a vast range of chocolates to suit the mass’ ever-changing palettes. Nowadays, you can find dark chocolates - chocolate with extra pure cocoa. Or milk chocolates - chocolate with extra creamy goodness. There are nutty chocolates, mint chocolates, chocolate spreads, chocolate ice creams, chocolate shakes and malts, chocolate fountains, chocolate coffees, chocolate beers, chocolate sculptures, and chocolate coins... you name it.

And now, of course, you can buy chocolate online! Purchase our premium chocolates right here online at Mrs. Cavanaugh’s, and you’ll have our gourmet chocolates shipped to your door in a jiff! Get in touch with us if you’re curious about our delicious chocolates. We’re here to connect you with the beautiful world of chocolate. It’s a wonderful world out there, all made more wonderful with glorious chocolate!