History of Chocolate: Did you know it was originally used as a ”medicine?”

History of Chocolate: Some amazing facts you didn't know about your favourite confectionery item
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When we see chocolate, all we want to do is just grab a bite of it. But did you know that long back in history, chocolate was initially consumed as a beverage? Or in other words, one can say that sugar did not have anything to do with it.

Basically, Cocoa in general terms refers to chocolate in a powdered form. It is the British form of cacao.

And as per the Etymologists (those who study the history of names or words), the origin of the word chocolate dates back to the Aztec word xocoatl, which then referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans.

Did you know that cacao beans were once used as currency? One bean could be traded for a tamale, while 100 beans could purchase a good turkey hen.

The current form or the sweetened version of chocolate did not appear until Europeans discovered the Americas.

There they got a chance to sample the native cuisine. Back then chocolate did not suit the foreigners’ tastebuds; it was even described as ‘a bitter drink for pigs’. But when once mixed with honey or cane sugar, it quickly became popular throughout Spain.

History of chocolate

Chocolate became a fashionable drink throughout Europe by the 17th century. But for a long time, it remained largely a privilege of the rich people. And it remained so until the invention of the steam engine that made mass production possible in the late 1700s.

It was in 1828 when a Dutch chemist found a way to make powdered chocolate by removing about half the natural fat (cacao butter) from chocolate liquor.

He treated the mixture with alkaline salts to cut the bitter taste of it thereby becoming the reason behind its popularity. This became the Dutch cocoa.

Sooner it led to the creation of solid chocolate.

The first modern chocolate bar is credited to Joseph Fry. It was in 1847 he made a moldable chocolate paste by adding melted cacao butter back into Dutch cocoa.

And by 1868, a company called Cadbury began marketing the boxes of chocolate candies in England. Milk chocolate came much later. As it was pioneered by another one called Nestle.

In America also, chocolate was highly valued during the Revolutionary War. Did you know that it was included in soldiers’ rations and used in lieu of wages?


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