Javier A. Rivera Leon
February 18, 2009
The History of the chocolate.
The beginning of the chocolate story takes place among the Toltecs and other Central and South American tribes. At first they ate only the flesh of the cocoa fruit, because the seeds themselves were too bitter. It wasdiscovered later that throwing the seeds on the fire produced a mouthwatering scent. This scent aroused enough curiosity that experiments with the seeds began - and when the seeds were crushed between stones and ground to a creamy paste, chocolate was born.
Quetzalcoatl, the feathered snake god, gave man the cacahuaquahitl, or cocoa tree. The bean from this sacred tree was believed to have magicalpowers. The Mayas were first to cultivate the cocoa bean. It was an ingredient in a popular drink, xocotlatl, made of vanilla, pepper and other herbs mixed with a small amount of chocolate. Because of their great value, the beans also served as a popular means of exchange.
The first European to encounter chocolate was Christopher Columbus. Less than impressed by the stuff, it wasn't until 1520, whenCortez reached the east coast of Mexico, that chocolate began its journey to Europe. A favored guest of Montezuma, Cortez was introduced to the xocotlatl drink, and given a plantation of cocoa trees so that he might spend among the native population. After Cortez's discovery, the bean made its way to Spain. The Spanish added sugar to the roasted bean, and sought a monopoly on the cocoa bean.Large shipments smuggled to Europe and Asia prevented the attempt, however, and chocolate became a delicacy of the Royal courts of Europe.
The first breakthrough in the production of chocolate took place in Holland. Seeking a way to make the chocolate drinks then available finer and lower in fat, the Dutch invented the cocoa press. The cocoa press crushed freshly ground chocolate beans and extractedliquid cocoa butter. The leftover product was a dry, hard slab of low-fat cocoa powder. In 1828, a method of alkalizing the powder made it easy to mix and digest.
The advent of a revolutionary process for condensing milk was a turning point in the production of chocolate. This new development led to chocolate and milk in a solid mix - changing the way chocolate has been made ever since.Following the introduction of milk into chocolate production came a new method of refining chocolate for taste and texture. It was discovered that leaving the chocolate to mix in a container for several days improved the flavor considerably. This process became known as conching, and is now employed as a standard part of creating chocolate.
It all started with a decision.
Ourcompany originated with candy-manufacturer Milton Hershey’s decision in 1894 to produce sweet chocolate as a coating for his caramels. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he called his new enterprise the Hershey Chocolate Company. In 1900, the company began producing milk chocolate in bars, wafers and other shapes. With mass-production, Hershey was able to lower the per-unit cost and make milkchocolate, once a luxury item for the wealthy, affordable to all. One early advertising slogan described this new product as “a palatable confection and a most nourishing food.”
A company on the move.
The immediate success of Hershey’s low-cost, high-quality milk chocolate soon caused the company’s owner to consider increasing his production facilities. He decided to build a new chocolate factoryamid the gently rolling farmland of south-central Pennsylvania in Derry Township, where he had been born. Close to the ports of New York and Philadelphia which supplied the imported sugar and cocoa beans needed, surrounded by dairy farms that provided the milk required, and with a local labor supply of honest, hard-working people, the location was perfect. By the summer of 1905, the new factory was...