Who Invented Chocolate?
The quest to learn who invented chocolate means exploring the fascinating history of chocolate. Most people credit the Aztecs with inventing chocolate. However, the first people to discover chocolate dates back even further to the Olmecs.
The Olmec are the oldest people known to have lived in the Eastern area of Mexico. During the years of 1500-400 BC the Olmecs drank a bittersweet drink they made from ground cacao beans.
In later years both the Mayans and Aztecs made a frothy hot drink by crushing cacao beans and mixing it with spices. Since they did not know about sugar, this drink was nothing like the chocolates we enjoy today. The word chocolate comes from the Maya word “xocoatl” meaning bitter water.
The Aztecs treasured the cacao bean so much that they used them as currency. When Hernando Cortez conquered Mexico in 1519, he did not like the bitter tasting drink. However, he took some of the beans back to Spain in 1528. Mixed with cane sugar, vanilla, and other spices this new drink became popular with the Spanish nobility.
Eventually chocolate spread throughout Europe. People found ways to include chocolate in cakes, pastries, and sorbets.
The modern chocolate bar is due to an invention in 1828 by Dutch chocolate maker, Conrad J. Van Houten. He developed a press that could produce a fine cocoa powder. By combining this cocoa with sugar and cocoa butter, a solid bar was created.
Milk chocolate lovers can thank Daniel Peter, a Swiss chocolate manufacturer, for the invention of milk chocolate. In 1875 he began selling the first milk chocolate bar created by adding powdered milk to chocolate.
The use of chocolate has spread so that chocolate can be found everywhere in all shapes and sizes served in creative and novel ways. Chocolate Easter bunnies, chocolate fountains, chocolate beverages, chocolate fondue, chocolate cakes, pies, cookies, candies and just about anything else you can imagine!
Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? Click here to learn the history of chocolate chip cookies.
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