Chocolate is a delicacy, that despite being widely available, is a much craved and sought after gourmet food.
There was a time, centuries ago, when chocolate was consumed as a bitter and spicy drink.
It used to be served as a foamy and fizzy liquid mixed with corn puree and spices.
Now there are many different ways of consuming chocolate, not just as a drink, but also as an ingredient in candies, cakes, pastries and other deserts.
The word “chocolate” comes from the Aztec word “xocolatl”. The Royal Spanish Academy derived this word from “xococ” meaning sour/bitter, and “alt” meaning water/drink.
Where Does Chocolate Come From?
Chocolate comes from cocoa beans which are grown on trees in Central America and South America. The cocoa beans, also called as simply cocoa, grow from the trunk of the cocoa trees.
Anthropologists from the University of Pennsylvania concluded that in 1400 B.C.E the sweet pulp of the cacao fruit was used for the preparation of an alcoholic beverage. People at that time used cacao beans for alcohol
Also, history shows us that several centuries ago – in pre-modern Latin America – cacao beans were used as valuable currency.
When Did Chocolate Become Popular?
Although cocoa beans were cherished from the very start of their first discovery, chocolates became incredibly popular in the 17th century. Chocolate was a fashionable drink throughout Europe at that time. It was a drink that only rich and privileged people could afford.
In 1828, a Dutch chemist produced “Dutch cocoa”. He did so by separating cacao butter from chocolate liquor. In this way, the first solid chocolate came about. However, the first modern chocolate bar was created by Joseph Fry in 1847. He found a way to make a moldable chocolate paste by mixing the melted cacao butter and Dutch cocoa together.
How Is Chocolate Made?
Chocolate is made from the cacao seeds. However, the taste of these seeds is extremely bitter. To get rid of the bitter flavor, the beans are fermented first. After the process of fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted. Then, they are added to the chocolate maker to produce various varieties of chocolate.
What Are the Uses of Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate is a popular drink throughout the world. Chocolate is eaten as candy. It is used as a flavorful ingredient in various baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and pastries and also other deserts such as pudding and ice cream .
Some research indicates that chocolate improves brain function. Flavanol, the main ingredient of cocoa, elevates the blood circulation in the brain. Also, according to some studies, chocolate has the power to lower the blood pressure.
Chocolate comes in so many varieties that people with different tastes and preferences can easily choose. For instance, there is white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and much more!
About the Author:
Amita Vadlamudi is a former Technology professional who currently spends her free time blogging on various topics. Some of Amita Vadlamudi’s favorite subjects are history, astronomy and botanical sciences.