The history of chocolate
The Theobroma cacao tree, to use its scientific name, provides us with one of the world´s most delicious foods-chocolateTheobroma is a Greek word meaning ‘food of the gods’. The tree originally comes from the Amazon region of South America. Hand-sized pods that grow on the tree contain cacao seeds-often called ‘cocoa beans’.These seeds, or beans, are used to make chocolate.
The earliest use and consumption of cacao beans dates back to around 1000 B.C. Later, the Mayan and Aztec civilizations consumed cacao as a drink.They often flavored it with ingredients such as chili peppers, and other spices. It is believed that drinking cups of chocolate was important in Mayan rituals such as wedding ceremonies. Consumingcacao was also believed to have positive effects on health. In Peru, eating or drinking a mixture of chocolate and chili was said to be good for the stomach. The Aztecs thought it cured sicknesses such asdiarrhea, and believed it was aphrodisiac. Their ruler, Montezuma, was said to have drunk fifty cups day!
Christopher Columbus, along with Spanish explorers, made his fourth voyage across theAtlantic in the early 1500s, and arrived on the coast of Honduras. It was at this time that he first discovered the value of cocoa beans, which were used as currency in many parts of Central America.
Inthe sixteenth century, chocolate was taken back to Spain by Hernando Cortez, another explorer. The Spanish people added ingredients such as sugar and vanilla to make it sweet. It later spread to Francein the seventeenth century after the marriage of Louis XIII to the Spanish princess, Anna, who loved chocolate. The popularity of chocolate continued to spread further across Europe and Americas. Theonly Asian country to adopt it at that time, though, was the Philippines, which the Spanish invaded in the sixteenth century.
As chocolate become more popular, the demand for people to work on...