Could you imagine a life without chocolate? What about the origin of the chocolate?!
Oh no!!! But did you know that the way we are eating nowadays, the chocolate, is totally new?
Let’s talk about the chocolate, about its history and some fun facts I discovered writing this article
COCOA DISCOVERED BY CHANCE
The tablet didn’t fall out of the tree 500 years ago!
In 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico. He came for the gold, but he found that among the Aztecs, the gold was cocoa. In the form of a bean, it was as well a currency.
So his discovery was a coincidence. The nuns at the side of the colonists then had the idea of sweetening the drink. We often owe to their greediness fabulous recipes from the French culinary heritage.
To make chocolate, three ingredients are essential which are cocoa paste, cocoa butter and sugar.
Without it, no chocolate. What makes it dark, milk or white is the proportion of each of these elements, as well as the addition of other ingredients such as milk.
Love chocolate to the core, without complexes or false shame, because remember: without a grain of madness, there is no reasonable man” La Rochefoucauld
TOP ANECDOTES TO KNOW IMPERATIVELY ABOUT CHOCOLATE.
1-Chocolate could soon disappear according to the International Cocoa Organization: the world demand for chocolate will have exceeded the available supply within 5 years because of new consumers in emerging countries.
2-White chocolate is not really chocolate because it does not contain cocoa paste.
3-In Psychosis, Hitchcock used liquid chocolate to imitate blood (famous shower scene). Luckily the film was in black and white!
4-The lethal dose of chocolate for a human is 10kg, 150g for cats and dogs.
5- The microwave was invented thanks to chocolate.
We owe the invention of the microwave to scientist Percy Spencer. In fact, he had a candy bar in his pocket. After working next to a working magnetron, he found that his snack had melted.
6-The Tour du France owes its red polka dot jersey to the brand Poulain; sponsor in 1975.
7-the inventor of the chocolate chip cookie sold the idea to the Nestlé company in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate.
8-. The Maya people used cocoa beans as currency. They also used chocolate as a prelude to marriage and to purify children. Even the graves of the dead contained chocolate.
9- M&M’s chocolates were intended for American soldiers sent to the front in Europe. Easy to transport in cardboard tubes, they could consume them without melting.
10- The first chocolate bars appeared in 1920. Mars and Nuts are the pioneers.
11- In 1828, the Dutchman Van Houten invented chocolate powder.
12- The chocolate mousse is the first chocolate-based recipe.
13- The spread invented by Ferrero appeared at the end of the 2nd World War. It contains a lot of hazelnuts and very little cocoa because it was very expensive at the time.
14- The Swiss are the biggest consumers of chocolate (12.3 kg/year).
15- Chocolate contains flavonoids, which help to fight against premature ageing of the cells.
16- According to a study by Columbia University in New York, cocoa may help fight the natural decline in memory linked to age.
17-Cocoa contains tannins, fluoride and phosphates, three ingredients that strengthen enamel while preventing bacteria from tapping the enamel in our teeth and creating cavities.
18-The smell of chocolate increases the number of brain waves that induce relaxation.
19-Dark chocolate improves the functioning of arteries and blood circulation.
20-Christopher Columbus, taking the beans for goat droppings, got rid of them. It is only later, in 1502, on the island of Guanaja, that he discovered for the first time the chocolate drink
Nowadays, chocolate has become a staple food in French gastronomy. A favourite ingredient in the composition of our desserts, chocolate is appreciated all over the world.
However, where does chocolate come from and especially when was it discovered?
THE ORIGINS OF THE CHOCOLATE
Chocolate has been used for thousands of years
The word chocolate comes from the Aztec word “tchocolatl” which comes from the Mayan word “chocoé” meaning “noise”, and “alt” meaning “water”. They alluded to the sound of the whisk used to froth the cocoa.
As for the “cacao tree”, it comes from the word “amygdala pecunaria” which means “monetary almond” because it was a means of exchange.
A legendary story
In some legends, chocolate was discovered by the gods.
In one legend, the head of the hero Hun Hunaphu was beheaded and he was hung from a tree that miraculously yielded cocoa fruit.
Christopher Columbus and the origin of the chocolate
Christopher Columbus was the first European to taste chocolate in 1502.
On his fourth voyage, he landed on the island of present-day Guadeloupe. The natives offered him a beverage that he doesn’t think is good.
Before he left, the indians offered some cocoa beans to Christopher Columbus, but they quickly threw them over the edge of his ship thinking they were goat droppings.
The arrival of chocolate in Europe
This is about the origin of the chocolate in Europe. It was not until 1528 that chocolate arrived in Europe, precisely in Spain, thanks to Cortés who brought back unknown products: tomato, white beans, potatoes, corn, chilli, tobacco and chocolate.
He said to Charles V: “A cup of this precious drink allows a man to walk a whole day without eating”.
Prepared in monasteries, chocolate is very expensive. It becomes a royal dish, heavily taxed and therefore unaffordable for the people.
The subsequent discovery of sugar cane made chocolate less bitter.
It is in the Netherlands, Spanish lands, that chocolate first spread.
Indeed, the first beans were introduced to Italy by Duke Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy in 1559. Italian chocolate makers, experts in the art of preparing it, exported it to Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France.
In 1609, the Jews driven out of Spain arrived in Bayonne and made the town the main French production centre.
Among her most faithful admirers was Marie-Thérèse, infanta of Spain and wife of Louis XIV; it was said: “The king and chocolate are the queen’s only two passions”.
Chocolate, in all its forms, became part of the culinary habits of Versailles under Louis XIV, who popularised its consumption at Court.
THE DEMOCRATISATION OF CHOCOLATE
It was not until the industrial revolution of 1826 that chocolate began to be democratised, as it became a currency of exchange.
The Dutchman van Houten filed a patent on a more digestible defatted cocoa in 1826 and began to produce cocoa, thus reducing the price of chocolate.
Thereafter, many factories began to be created: Suchard in 1824 or Lindt, famous brands today in the world of chocolate.
This long road brings us to today, where chocolate is adored by most French people.
THE REAL HOT CHOCOLATE OF THE FRENCH BREAKFAST
Originally, chocolate is a drink made with a bean crushed on a stone, the metate. It becomes a thick and greasy paste because of the butter, then it’s transformed into an emulsifier.
Until the beginning of the 19th century, it was a drink for adults, not at all intended for children, because of its sulphurous reputation. It was even banned from consumption. And then it fell apart, thanks to inventions like the tablet.
In France, morning milk chocolate is the drink most consumed by children.
In general, parents buy chocolate powder that they mix with milk. This makes breakfast quicker to prepare.
But you can also make your own homemade milk chocolate.
You can eat it for breakfast, of course, but also as a snack.
What could be more original than to invite your friends at the weekend to drink an authentic milk chocolate.
A real treat!
Ingredients for 4 people
- 100 g dark chocolate
- 50 cl milk
- 10 cl of water
- 2 packets of vanilla sugar 1 Break the dark chocolate into squares. 2 Heat the water and milk in a saucepan.
- 3 As soon as it starts to shimmer, add the vanilla sugar and mix well. Leave to heat for 1 minute and then remove the pan from the heat. 4 Add the chocolate squares to the hot chocolate. Whisk briskly to lightly foam the chocolate.
Then enjoy this delicious beverage of the gods.