The Olmecs, Maya and Toltecs.
More than three thousand years ago first people who tasted the fruits of unusual tree were the representatives of the ancient Olmec civilization, who lived in the lowlands alongshore the Gulf of Mexico. It was they who called the cocoa tree ridiculous word "kakava", which became the ancestor of the present-day "cocoa". As time went on, the Olmecs thing of the past but "kakava" remained. In place of Olmecs came Maya and cocoa tree has become cult classic tree for this ancient tribe.
Maya collected the fruits of wild-growing cocoa trees in the rain forests of Yucatan Peninsula - the tropical region of Southern Mexico. Having cleared large areas in the lowlands, Maya began to grow their own trees. Now we know them as the first cocoa plantations.
The drink was prepared from fried cacao beans and water with a small addition of spices which was called "kakauatl".
The fruits of the cocoa tree became "currency" rather fast: they were used as gifts on religious ceremonies and were presented on various celebrations etc.
Maya confessed a very complex religion with many gods. Ek Chuah, the god of merchants, was especially revered. The main attribute of the celebrations in honor of this god have always been only the fruits of cocoa.
Early explorers of Central America found out that in four cocoa beans could buy a pumpkin, ten - a rabbit, and a hundred - a slave!
Maya carried on the trade actively, transporting cacao beans to the market in a canoe or in large baskets on their backs because there were no horses or wheeled vehicles at that time in Central America. The richest merchants began to travel, some of them reached to Central America - the land of Aztecs.
After the IX century BC Maya culture went into decline. Toltecs have replaced it. As a result of internal disagreements and rebellions Toltec culture is also rapidly faded.
Aztecs have established control over Mexico and the surrounding territories.
Aztec Empire, cocoa and Emperor Moctezuma.
The Aztecs - Ancient nomadic people who founded a large city in the Valley of Mexico – Tenochtitlan. This rich thriving industrial and cultural center was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521.
Later it was rebuilt and renamed by the Spanish conquerors of Mexico City.
Aztecs used "Chocolatl" in huge quantities. Firstly, as a luxury beverage. The Aztec version of this very expensive drink was described as "a finely grained sediment, soft, foamy, reddish, bitter (flavoured) with water chili, aromatic flowers, vanilla and wild honey."
Because of the dry climate the Aztecs didn't have their own plantations of cocoa trees, that's why they conquered the neighboring territories actively.
Cocoa beans as money
They got fruits as a "tribute" or in the process of trading. The "tribute" was a form of taxation were paying by inhabitants of the regions, conquered by Aztecs in wars.
By the time the Spaniards invaded Mexico, the Aztecs had created one of the most powerful countries of America. In Tenochtitlan "flowed rivers" of tribute in the form of cacao beans, food and luxury goods from fabric. Cacao beans were used also as money in the Aztec empire. There was a huge amount of them apart from gold in the royal storehouses.
The Aztecs were very superstitious: they worshiped many gods and believed that their world was in constant danger of the catastrophe. God Quetzalcoatl ("the serpent covered with green feathers" or "precious twin") – the god-creator and patron of agriculture, was connected with the fruits of the cocoa tree. Aztecs built huge temples in his honor and this god was especially respected by Moctezuma II - Emperor of Mexico and the Aztec leader at the beginning of the XVI century.
God Quetzalcoatl's history is closely connected with the history of cocoa and chocolate. Ancient Mexican myth explains that Quetzalcoatl was forced to leave the country of Aztecs but his devoted admirers have always remembered about him and hoped that he would ever return. Until that time they still had his heritage - the cocoa tree. When the Spanish conquistador Don Fernando Cortes arrived in 1517 with a fleet of galleons, Aztecs were sure that is Quetzalcoatl returned in their lifes.
Linguists believe that the word "chocolate" originates from the Maya language "xocoatl"; cocoa - from the Aztec language "cacahuatl". The Mexican Indian word "chocolate" is a combination of the terms: choco ("foam") and atl ("water"); in ancient times chocolate was only a drink.
In 1502, the first European - Christopher Columbus tasted the chocolate drink during his fourth expedition. It should be said that familiarity with delicacy, which was unknown to Europeans, was not very pleasant. Reddish drink of cacao beans was given to the guest by natives of the island Guyana. Columbus did not like the bitter drink. But despite the off-flavor after all he decided to bring cacao beans to the Old World. It was the first defeat of the chocolate because "the strange incomer" is not able to win the affection of the land. Nobody paid attention to the cacao beans which were brought for the king Ferdinand because of the large number of other treasures…
Fernando de Oliviedo Valdez, who went to America in 1513 as a member of the ship crew of Pedrariasa Avila, wrote that he had bought a slave for 100 cacao beans.
But the time came when the chocolate was prescribed to appear on another continent and become one of the best and the most esteemed delicacies of the Old World.
The journey of Don Hernando Cortés, who was sent by Velasquez to Mexico and Aztec civilization, began on February 10, 1519. Having landed on the Mexican coast near Veracruz, he decided to hold the path to the Tenochtitlan in order to see the famous wealth of Emperor Montezuma and Aztec empire.
The meeting of Montezuma and Cortés took place on the top of the main temple of Tenochtitlan. Montezuma brought Cortés his favorite drink "chocolatl" in the golden cup. American historian William Hickling in his book "History of the Conquest of Mexico" (1838) writes that Montezuma didn't recognize the other drinks. Chocolatl was his "chocolate drink, flavored with vanilla and spices, frothy and thick as honey, refreshing and melting in the mouth". Interestingly, Montezuma necessarily tasted "chocolatl" before entering his harem, and believed that it was an aphrodisiac beverage.
In May 1520 the Spaniards shot Aztec nobility which gathered for a peaceful holiday. In retaliation during the popular uprising Aztecs killed Montezuma, who was captured and connived with the conquerors, and expelled the Spanish from their city (the so-called "Night of Sorrow"). A year later Cortés came back and destroyed Tenochtitlan and other cities. The fall of Tenochtitlan marked the end of Aztec civilization.
Having evaluated the stimulating effect of the drink and realizing that cocoa could bring big profits, Cortés returned to Spain. His galleons were loaded with cacao beans, equipment for chocolate drink production and sugarcane.
Cacao beans became a kind of "pray for forgiveness of sins" of cruel conqueror in front of Spanish monarch.
Spanish monks, known for their pharmaceutical skills, changed the process and the recipe of the chocolate drink. In accordance with the tastes of the Spaniards they refused pepper and add vanilla, cinnamon and sugar to the drink. One more discovery was the fact that hot chocolate drink was even tastier.
Originally, the chocolate was the drink of the royal family, it replaced tea and coffee and became the only morning drink at Madrid court. However, it "went" beyond the walls of the palace and became an elite drink for the wealthy Spanish soon.
All this caused a strong demand for cacao beans. By Special Decree of the Spanish crown the recipe of chocolate drink was declared a state secret of Spain. It took about a century to spread the news about the cocoa and chocolate all over Europe.
By the way, speaking about chocolate sins. The bishops of Mexico have collected a special congress to make clear the unusual disputable question: should the chocolate exist or not, is it a sinful enjoyment or the usual delicacy, could it be eaten during the fast or not. Chocolate was saved from its unhappy thanks to its bitter taste. Pope-inquisitor saved his life, justifying it by the fact that the bitter drink can not be the pleasure.
So far as the preparation of chocolate drink was kept secret, the Europeans did not rate the importance of cacao beans. For example, in 1587 British and Dutch sailors who captured a Spanish ship, loaded with cacao beans, didn't find another treasures and threw precious fruits overboard.
The first man who broke the "chocolate monopoly" was Italian traveler Francesco Carletti. The recipe of "divine drink" was brought to Italy.
At the beginning of the XVII century the great Dutch navigators captured Curaçao and brought the fruits of cocoa to Holland. Cocoa was proclaimed a valuable product and was recommended by the doctors as the cure from any illness.
At the same time cacao beans trade began to spread.
"Libro en el cual se trata del chocolate" – it was the name of the book, appeared in Mexico in 1609. It was the first book devoted to the chocolate.
In 1615 Anne of Austria, the daughter of Spanish king Philip, married the king of France Louie XIII. Anne presented the cocoa to the spoiled French public, and the drink was taken with delight.
Thanks to the travelers from Italy in 1646 the chocolate arrived to Germany. In the priсe lists of the drugstores of that time we can find the next information: chocolate is the product for strengthening of the organism.
In 1650 the secret of aromatic chocolate drink reached England. Very soon the chocolate became the most popular drink of king Charles II.
This year French confectioner opened the first Chocolate house in London. The chocolate continues to be the drink for the elite because its minimal price was 10-15 shillings per pound.
Spanish historian of the sixteenth century marked: "Only rich and noble people could afford such luxury of a drink "chocolatl" because it literally sounds like this: "he drinks" money. The cocoa became the currency of all nations: you can buy a rabbit for ten seeds in Nicaragua, and a rather good slave for 100".
The first chocolate shop was opened in Paris.
The Princess Maria Theresa was introduced to her future husband. King of France Louie XIV presented her a CHOCOLATE as a wedding gift. Louie also established the honorable title of France "Royal chocolate manufacturer".
Other elite chocolate houses were opened in France. Discussion of the political and social affairs, just "gossiping" couldn't be without a cup of "chocollatte". The drink actively used by leading French doctors as a remedy.
A new breakthrough in the history of chocolate - it became used by confectioners. Chocolate became a major additive to rolls, rolled cakes and pastry.
There is great variety of Chocolate shopping centers appeared.
The most famous Chocolate house was undoubtedly White's Chocolate House. It was opened in 1693 in C-James Street by Italian immigrant Francisco White. Along with beer, snacks and coffee chocolate drinks were served there, which were made from blocks of solid cocoa imported probably from Spain. Various rolled cakes and pastry were served to the clients. And the most important, House sold semi-prepared chocolate drink. It has become possible to prepare chocolate drink at home.
Very soon similar "Houses" appeared almost in every European capital.
But chocolate also had its opponents. Thus, Prussian king Frederick III strictly prohibited to use it in his country.
High customs duties on the imported raw cacao beans didn't give the opportunity to expand the sphere of the chocolate consumption. In order to reduce its cost, the British began to add milk to the chocolate, thereby inventing a new recipe of the chocolate!
Very young Louis XV became the King of France. The chocolate got the glory of the aphrodisiac - king's minion madame Du Barry proclaimed chocolate the best aphrodisiac.
The famous writers and artists turned to the chocolate theme more often. Empress of Austria specially called famous artist of that time Gin Ethin Leotaird to the country. The heroines of his paintings were women and chocolate. Empress personally posing for the artist. As the result - the painting "La Belle de Chokolatir," where a beautiful woman was depicted, who was bringing the morning chocolate. This work became one of the most famous paintings of that period.
Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus determined the botanical name of the chocolate - "fia broma", which meant "food of the gods” in translation from Greek.
New World began to appreciate the quality of Indian drink. Chocolate began its triumphal march across America.
The illustration of chocolate factory and press for the cacao beans extraction appeared in the encyclopedia of Diderot and D'Alembert. At the same time Merli wrote that you need to remove the part of the cocoa butter contained therein in order to prepare the best sort of chocolate.
In 1765 chocolate was submitted to the United States. Since the industrial revolution mass production of the chocolate began, the popularity of "food of the gods" was spread among the population.
This year in Dorchester (state Massachusetts) the first chocolate manufactory appeared which worked on the raw material taken from "West India" by the captains of New England.
Doctor James Baker built the first water mill for grinding cacao beans.
For many centuries chocolate was considered a purely "male" drink. But when people began to add milk, wine, sweeteners and spices to it, chocolate became not only "feminine", but even "childish" drink.
Scientists and confectioners continued to improve the chocolate taste. In 1789 Clarke Tresper was the first who processed the cocoa with the alkali, thus process considerably improved its digestibility. Clarke's observations were published but for a long time there were disputes about whether you want to add it to the chocolate or not. The practice of adding small amounts of carbonate or bicarbonate (drinking alkali) is almost universal now.
Mozart perpetuated the chocolate in his opera for Vienna Imperial Theatre "Cose Fan Tutte" ("All women behave in such a way").
Chocolate reached to Switzerland: it was brought to the country by the traveler Gauthier as a unique product. Chocolate houses began to disappear by the end of XVIII century.
The descendant of Dubois with his partner Mr. Golleys opened a chocolate shop on the left bank of Paris. Interestingly, that this shop still exists today.
Young John Cadbury became the founder of Cadbury Limited Company in Birmingham. Now it is one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world. In advertising of Birmingham Bulletin of March 1, 1824 its product line was presented very briefly: "John Cadbury pleased to introduce product group "Nibs", prepared by him, and the article which depicting the most nutritious drink for breakfast".
"Chocolate" menu was prescribed to sick mother of a Philip Sacker, but chocolate was still too expensive. In order not to give away his three-day-wages for a pound of treats the-counter medicines, Philip invented his own production machinery. Manufacture and chocolate trade also became a successful small private business.
Dutchman Conrad Johannes van Houten invented hydraulic press to extract two thirds of cocoa butter from cacao beans in order to reduce fat content of chocolate drink, in such a way we got cocoa butter and oil cake, from which the cocoa powder was made. Produced cocoa became very approximate to the modern one.
Van Houten also invented the alkalization or Dutch process in which the cocoa was also processed with an alkali. Since 1789 this process was used to improve the solubility, but soon it was found out that after alkalization the taste and color of the cocoa were also improved.
When adding cocoa butter to the mixture of cocoa powder and sugar the chocolate mass was obtained. Therefore, one of the most significant discoveries in the sphere of food industry took place.
English merchants started selling the first edible chocolate "pieces".
Tax reduction by the Prime Minister of England William Gladstone in the mid-50s was a turning point for the cocoa and chocolate industry. Chocolate products appeared within reach to the general public.
On February 4, 1854 Cadbury brothers got their first "King's Certificate" and became "the official producers of cocoa and chocolate of Queen Victoria".
The turning point for Cadbury was that brothers expanded the product range with new kinds of edible chocolate using the new squeezing technology in the production of cacao beans. Brothers began to sell cocoa under the motto: "Absolutely pure - so the best."
A resident of Switzerland, Daniel Peter learned to mix the cocoa mass with the condensed milk, which has led to the appearance of milk or, as it was called, the Swiss chocolate. Immediately after that cocoa made a new conquests - it was used for rolls, cookies etc.
In Bern (Switzerland) Rodolphe Lindt invented device in the form of a "shell" ("conching") for rolling the chocolate mass, in which the chocolate mass uninterruptedly stirred and pressed. This process also included heating and cooling for better purification of the chocolate. As a result the excess moisture evaporated from the slurry of chocolate, it became thick and delicate - the first chocolate melting in the mouth turned up.
In Hamburg, the first chocolate bars were produced. Englishman John Cadbury started producing small, cheap chocolates and trying to wean his countrymen from addiction to beer, made chocolate democratic national delicacy.
Invention of the chocolate mousse is ascribed to the famous French artist Henry Taluzu.
Swiss Jules Suchaut created the equipment for filling candies. Switzerland became the queen of chocolate candies.
During the First World War the chocolate became a required part of the soldiers' ration because it was a valuable nutritious product.
New York Cocoa Exchange began its work in the World Trade Center.
Thanks to the press the story of chocolate espionage hit the world public: the student of Swiss company Suchard-Tobler unsuccessfully tried to sell secret chocolate recipes to Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and other countries.
The scientists of many countries continue to examine the useful properties of the chocolate up till now. The results of the researches can't help to please the ardent admirers of this product.
Comparing the useful properties of pomegranate, cranberry juice, bilberry, blueberry and dark chocolate, scientists have found out that bitter chocolate is the most useful for human health. It is rich a lot of useful substances. Zinc, magnesium, copper, iron contained in the chocolate. These components are the great arguments not to forget about chocolate.
According to the latest scientific research, eating chocolate brings the body more good than eating fruits. The scientists claim that the magnesium contained in the product resists depression, improves memory, increases resistance to stress and strengthens the immune system.
"Chocolate is not only energizing you and improves your mood, but also saves you from heart attack and stroke" – cardiologists say.
The chocolate therapy increases immune function in those people who suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. And in order to improve the skin tone are used chocolate body wraps in the spas.
Chocolate it's better than kissing. The scientists estimated that during the kiss our brain starts to work actively, heart rate increases, the body feels great. So, this effect is increased by four times due to chocolate!