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Chocolate: A Brief History

Upon hearing the word chocolate, images of bars, covered nuts and other delicious images come to mind. But, who can we attribute this wonderful discovery to? Historians estimate that chocolate has been around for at least 2,000 years. The derivation of the word chocolate can be traced back to the Aztecs. Their word ‘xocoatl’ referred to a bitter beverage prepared from cacao beans.

Identifying an exact origin for chocolate is tricky but it has always been treated as a valuable resource. Certain countries in Latin America used cacao beans as currency. One cacao bean could be traded for a tamale while 100 beans could purchase a turkey hen.

Sweetened chocolate that we are familiar with now didn’t appear until the early 1500’s. When Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes discovered the Aztecs, they sampled the native cuisine. The Aztecs enjoyed a chocolate beverage that the Europeans didn’t enjoy until it was mixed with honey or cane sugar. Then it quickly became popular throughout Spain and the rest of Europe.

Up until the invention of the steam engine and mass production, chocolate was enjoyed throughout Europe but mainly as a treat for the affluent class. In 1828, a Dutch chemist discovered how to make powdered chocolate which then paved the way for the creation of solid chocolate which many of us enjoy today.

The creation of the first modern chocolate bar can be attributed to Joseph Fry. In 1847 he discovered that by adding melted cacao butter into Dutch cocoa, he can make a moldable chocolate paste.

During the Revolutionary War in America, chocolate was considered to be so valuable that it was included in soldiers rations and used instead of wages. Chocolate was thought to improve their morale, and who wouldn’t be happy with chocolate at mealtime.

To date, while we aren’t paid in chocolate, the industry still does well. Manufacturing chocolate is more than a four billion dollar industry. Additionally, the average American eats at least half a pound of chocolate per month.

Now that you have that chocolate desire, stop by any of our eight locations to satisfy that crave. Since 1915, we have been spreading the joy that chocolate can bring around Maryland and beyond. Can’t make it to the store? Order an assortment of some of your favorite kinds of chocolate online. Visit our website for more chocolate-related paraphernalia and tasty treats.

When you’re not savoring our sweets, stay satisfied by following us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest!



This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 3:35 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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