|History Of Chocolate: How did chocolate get its name?|
The history of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica. Chocolate is native to this continent but was introduced to the rest of the world through the Moghuls who spread its seeds across the globe. The history of chocolate dates back to 450 BC. The Mexica considered cocoa beans as the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of knowledge, and hence the seeds and dry beans once had such great value that they were employed as a form of money.
The history of chocolate in Spain can be traced back to the 16th century when it was often used in cooking and pastry. It was also often used in religious ceremonies in order to appease the gods. The Aztecs of South America adopted chocolate making techniques from the Egyptians and Mayans. It was not until the sixteenth century that chocolates became a staple luxury item for the Spanish court.
Who first made chocolate?
It all started in Latin America. Chocolate's 4,000-year history began in ancient Mesoamerica, present day Mexico. It's here that the first cacao plants were found. The Olmec, one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America, were the first to turn the cacao plant into chocolate.
In the sixteenth century, a Portuguese explorer named Christopher Columbus brought cocoa beans with him which he succeeded in cultivating and eventually harvesting to the extent that the entire country could boast of a cacao industry. This was the beginning of the history of chocolate in Europe, and it has remained there ever since. Cocoa production reached new heights during the Industrial Revolution when sugar became more affordable, thus enhancing production.
During the Renaissance period, chocolate was often used as a means to sweeten food. It was often served as a drink before meals or after dinner. This became a favored beverage in the courts of Europe as the richly flavored beans gave a delicious and unique flavor to all dishes prepared for the table. Cocoa was even mentioned in a famous 15th century poem by someone referred to as the poet of the Spanish Court, this person is called Donquixote Arenas.
How did chocolate get its name?
Etymologists trace the origin of the word "chocolate" to the Aztec word "xocoatl" which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. The Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, means "food of the gods".
Chocolate making was first formalized in the year 1350 in the first official documented use of a beverage that bears this name, the first official recipes were published in an Italian grammar book during this time. In these books, cocoa was defined as the first sweetener produced by man. The earliest versions of the beverage that we have on offer today came from a variety of countries and regions across the globe. However, the most well known from the point of view of chocolate history is of course the result of Christopher Columbus's voyage of discovery.
When Christopher Columbus returned from his voyage of discovery to America, he brought with him two of the most precious cargo he had, which were the cacao beans and a chocolaty drink made out of it. The chocolaty drink was quickly taken up by the Spaniards as the drink of choice and soon afterwards, all of Spain would produce their own version of this drink. As was to be expected, as soon as there was so much wealth to be had from all of this, fortunes were quickly accrued as well. As such, it didn't take long before many fortunes were being made as people began to wonder how this chocolate had come to be so valuable. This was all part of the rich history of chocolate, which is fascinating to say the least.
The history of chocolate actually starts much deeper than what we would normally think, for example the alkaline salts found within the raw cacao. Cocoa has a large number of salts, and when you get an understanding of how the making of chocolate works, you will start to see why the cocoa in the mixture is so important. It is the alkaline salts in the cocoa butter that give it its ability to keep cold, which in turn explains the reason why it was so popular in the early days. It was also for this reason as to why Europeans were so impressed by this new beverage, which gave it the name of "chocolate" (which from a Latin word means sweet).
After this, it was only a matter of time before this newly developed food was introduced into the European markets, giving them something that could help them feed their bodies with food and keep them warm. The Aztecs of Central Mexico were the ones who first introduced this sweetened beverage to Europe. At this point, they only consumed it watery and sometimes with their food, and they even used it as an enema. It was only after they became accustomed to the high-calorie and sweet drink that they slowly added it into their diets. With this discovery came the history of chocolate, and it eventually spread across to most of the rest of the world. From here, it gradually spread to every corner of the globe and is now known not only as a popular sweetener but also as a healthy food.
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