Chocolate, a bit like its flavour, has a rich and full 4000-year history. In ancient Mesoamerica (Mexico), the first cacao plant was found. But most of the history comes from the ancient Mayans and Aztecs who believed chocolate to be a gift from the gods. They made cacao into a drink which they gave to warriors after great battles. This drink was called xocolatl.
They revered cacao beans more precious than gold:
- 1 bean = 1 ripe avocado
- 4 beans = 1 pumpkin
- 10 beans = 1 rabbit
- 100 beans = a turkey hen
Source: BBC LINK
The difference between Mayan and Aztec drinks compared to the “hot chocolate” we make now, is that their drink was extremely bitter and more often than not, it was mixed with chilli to give it extra flavour.
Chocolate started as a drink and for many years, that was all it was used for. Even when it came to Europe in the 16th century. However, in 1828, a man from Amsterdam; Coenraad van Houten, invented a machine which separated the fat from cacao bean and leaving a fine powder. This fat is now used today as cocoa butter which can be used in food or in beauty products, and the cocoa powder was used as a much tastier version of the drink as it actually dissolved in water… and milk!
Around 20 years after this. A British chocolatier with the name of J.S Fry thought to recombine the cocoa butter and cocoa back together and adding sugar. When this set, he had created the worlds first dark chocolate bar.
Have you tried our delicious Harrogate Chocolate Factory chocolate yet? We have a range of different bars available, you can buy from our stockists or you can purchase online here.