Sunday, September 05, 2021

The arrival of cocoa in Europe

The first people known to consume the cacao beans were the Olmec, who lived in what is today southern Mexico.

The Olmec were followed by the Maya (of present-day Guatemala, Belize, and Yucatán Peninsula), and then the Toltec and Aztec of central Mexico. Each civilization valued the drink of the cacao bean. For the Maya, chocolate was a cocoa drink prepared with hot water and often flavored with cinnamon and pepper.

The early chocolate drink, considered a “drink of the Gods” was mixed with cinnamon and pepper, tasting bitter and strong.

In 1502, the first meeting of Western civilization with cocoa occurred: Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Guanaja, Honduras, and received the gift of a cup of Chocolate.

Cocoa appeared in Europe in 1528, when the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés brought samples of cocoa to King Charles of Spain, spreading the great effects of the beverage prepared from this “brown gold”.

In 1544, Dominican friars escorted Maya nobles to the court of Prince Philip of Spain, with cacao. The drink they made from it was bitter and flavored with unfamiliar New World spices.

Starting from 1660, the drinking of hot sweet chocolate spread across Europe: Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, and also Austria and Italy.

Francisco Hernández (c. 1517–1587) was among the first to consider the use of chocolate in connection with humoral medicine: he argued that as cacao bean had cold and dry qualities, chocolate had to be recommended to treat hot diseases, such as fevers.

It was in 1753 that the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus named the cocoa plant Theobroma cacao, from the Latin name Theobroma [literally ‘food of the Gods’], and the Aztec word xocolatl [i.e., xococ (bitter) and atl (water)].

In 1815 Conread Van Houten of Amsterdam island made cocoa butter from cocoa mass. He invented a special machine called the cocoa press. The cocoa press squeezed out a liquid from the cocoa nuts. This is called cocoa butter. Because of the machine, it was possible to make more chocolate and at a lower price.

The addition of milk to chocolate first occurred at the end of the 17th century, but Nestlè preparation based on condensed powdered milk by evaporation started in 1867, completely changing the taste of chocolate.

Milk chocolate was first made by Swiss Daniel Peter with condensed milk powder from Nestle company. He experimented for eight years before he finally produced the first milk chocolate in 1875. Milk chocolate is not as bitter as dark chocolate. Daniel Peter and his friend Henri Nestlé mixed condensed milk with chocolate

In 1879 Rudolph Lindt in Switzerland produced the first dark chocolate, by “conching”.

In 1905, Cadbury Dairy Milk was launched in the United Kingdom for it first sold products and now consists of a number of products. In June 1905 in England, Cadbury made its first Dairy Milk bar, with a higher proportion of milk.
The arrival of cocoa in Europe