THE EVOLUTION OF CHOCOLATE
Theo means gods, and broma – food
Originally, cocoa was consumed as a drink, and at a much later stage, adopted the modern form of chocolate. Europeans have improved the drink by adding sugar cane, honey, vanilla and other sweeteners and flavors to it. It was not until the 19th century that the texture and taste of chocolate were designed to look like what we eat today with pleasure.
The chocolate time line
1500 – 300 BC
The earliest historical evidence of cultivation and use of cocoa dates from that period and relates to Olmecs, an American Indian tribe inhabiting the territory of present-day Honduras.
300 – 500 AD
The Mayans inherit the use of cocoa from the Olmecs. They consume the cocoa in the form of an unsweetened beverage prepared from the beans. The drink was only used by men as it was believed to be toxic to women and children. Preserved frescoes and drawings from that period also show the important role of the brown powder and in the Mayan religious life. During sacred ceremonies, rituals and sacrifices, the priests gave the cocoa beverage as a gift of the gods.
600s – 1000s
At about this time the Mayans began to create cocoa plantations in the Yucatan region of Mexico. Cocoa beans were even used as currency.
1200s – 1300s
The Mayans started trading with the Aztecs and paid them with cocoa beans. Against only 80 -100 cocoa beans, a cloth cloak was exchanged. In some regions like Yucatan the beans were used as small coins until 1840 when the Aztecs brought local spices, such as chilli, cinnamon and pepper to the cocoa beverage, which was consumed as a restorative, curative and ceremonial drink. They were the first to tax the cocoa beans and limit their use to only nobles and priests. The influential people of the tribe (priests, warriors, and merchants) prepared a special drink of cocoa, water, corn powder and cloves.
Around the 15th century, the Spanish arrived in America (The New World). Christopher Columbus and his crew were the first Europeans to know the cocoa when they captured a canoe with mysterious-looking “almonds”. The Aztecs called it “xocolatl” and the “cacao” of the Mayans. Spaniards preferred the name xocolatl, as cocoa had an unpleasant meaning in their language. Cocoa is brought to Spain in 1585.
Italian traveler Antonio Karley fount the chocolate in Spain and brought it to Italy. From Italy, chocolate was then brought to Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland. The high demand for the drink had France create cocoa plantations in the Caribbeans, and Spain later created cocoa plantations in their Philippine colony. Same year Louis Callier launched the first Swiss chocolate factory.
The first chocolate preparation recipe was written and published by Spanish physician Antonio Colmenera de Ledesma. It is based on the Aztec recipe, and almonds, anise, cinnamon, flowers, hazelnuts, roses from Alexandria and vanilla were added to the bitter taste. According to the doctor’s instructions, the exact spices depend on physical illnesses. точните подправки зависят от физическите болежки.
Joseph Fry of Bristol used steam engine for grinding cocoa beans and that particular invention initiated the production of chocolate in industrial quantities.
Conrad van Hutten invented the hydraulic cocoa press – a machine that extracts the oil from the beans; they turn to powder that we now call the popular “cocoa.” This powder is treated with salts to make it easier to mix with water. Making the drink darker, softer and tastier Van Huett patented his invention in Amsterdam as a “Dutch process”. The Industrial Revolution eventually allowed him to produce cheaper chocolate, which only increased the popularity of the drink among people.
Joseph Fry’s grandson, Francis Fry, found a way to mix some of the cocoa butter with cocoa powder, sugar which gave it the ability to be shaped as desired. Francis Frey called his mix “chocolate to eat,” which makes him the father of the first chocolate bar.
1828 – 2015
The evolution of the chocolate industry begins. Chocolate is divided into three types – Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and White chocolate. Chocolate with additions like hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts, dried fruit and creamy fillings can be found in the market.
ZIV Ltd. launches their first chocolate products – the chocolates Un Grande Amore.
As it can be seen from the time scale in the evolution of chocolate, people’s love for chocolate is infinite. This is because it has the ability to bring PLEASURE. Science is still working hard on establishing the exact mechanism through which this happens. One of the best studied ingredients of cocoa is caffeine, which is known for its exciting qualities. Chocolate also contains theobromine and phenylamine, which also act as stimulants and increase activity in parts of the brain that are responsible for our alertness and concentration. These substances can certainly contribute to temporary pleasure, but there are many other theories why chocolate makes us feel good.
One is that cocoa contains pharmacologically active substances that excite the cannabinoid receptors (the same that interact with the active substance in marijuana) in the brain and can thus contribute to the appearance of blissful sensations. Some scientists believe that this process is probably related to the proverbial addiction to chocolate, but we are more likely to believe that our dependence is mainly due to its unique taste. Chocolate is better than kissing. Scientists have calculated that during a kiss, the human brain begins to work actively, the heart begins to beat rapidly, the body feels wonderful. And when it comes to chocolate, this effect is four times stronger.