This is a short introduction about chocolate.

Everybody loves chocolate, it is simply delicious.  We are all quite possibly chocoholics.

Chocolate is a popular holiday gift.  A box of chocolates to a sweetheart is symbolic on Valentines Day as are chocolate bunny rabbit eggs at Easter.

Chocolate is loved by everyone as gifts for lovers or at parties and celebrations.  We welcome a slice of chocolate cake for someone’s birthday while kids go crazy for a dollup of chocolate ice cream or a pudding with chocolate sauce poured over it.

Who has not been tempted by a chocolate digestive biscuit or enjoyed a chocolate Easter Egg?

Chocolate is believed to be good for your brain, heart and for your blood circulation.

The brands of Cadbury, Nestle, Lindt and Toberone amongst others serve us well with a vast range of irresistable products.

There are several different kinds of chocolate.

Milk chocolate is the most popular kind of chocolate in the world, sweetened with condensed milk which was perfected by Nestle.

Then there is dark or plain chocolate which is the least palatable.Much less milk is added and it is a lot less sweet.

Thirdly, there is white chocolate.  Actually, it is not really chocolate at all because it contains a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter and milk solids but not contain any chocolate liquor or cocoa solids .

Chocolate comes from the cocoa plant which is grown in two tropical areas of the world, central America and Africa.

It was probably the explorer Christopher Columbus who first brought the cocoa beans back from the new world to Europe at the beginning of the sixteenth century.

The word chocolate is said to derive from the Mayan/Aztec xocolatl which meant bitter water.

The Aztecs believed that the bitter cocoa drink was a divine gift from heaven.

Chocolate is an indigenous South American food and is considered to be an aphrodisiac by the Greeks.  The bean of the cocoa tree was traditionally brewed with hot water to produce a bitter drink which created a sensation of well-being and alertness.

Both the Aztecs and Mayans used the cocoa bean as a form of currency in trading.

It was a Dutchman, C J Van Houten, who in 1828 invented a hydraulic press in 1828 which extracted cocoa oil. The dry residue left from this process simply needed to be crushed to produce a fine cocoa powder.

A British man named John Cadbury took it a step further in the mid nineteenth century when he  turned chocolate liquor from just a drink into an edible chocolate bar by sweetening and fattening it with the addition of refined sugar and milk.

He established a famous factory in Bournville Birmingham which still runs today and is in fact the location of a Chocolate Museum as well to thousands of daily visitors.

Chocolate was available only as cocoa or as a liquid until 1879.

It was Rodolphe Lindt who thought to add cocoa butter back to the chocolate. Adding the additional cocoa butter helped the chocolate set up into a bar that “snaps” when broken as well as melting on the tongue

Although Mexico was the place of original discovery of the cocoa bean for chocolate and Congo in central Africa has the biggest marketing potential, most of the chocolate we eat in the world today comes from cocoa beans coming sourced from Brazil and the Ivory Coast.



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