Legend says that the Maya threw the beans on the ground and the sun burnt the beans. Then a poor man picked up the grain and threw them into a mug of water. So there was a first chocolate. The rich took "kakawa" from the poor and proclaimed it the drink of the gods. Poor people could not drink "kakawa." The Maya possessed the first plantations of cocoa and invented many ways of cooking cocoa drinks. Slaves could be bought for 100 beans.
The first European to drink chocolate was Christopher Columbus. It happened in 1502 when the inhabitants of the island of Guyana gave him chocolate. Columbus brought enigmatic grains for king but no one noticed it. Twenty years later Hernan Cortes also tested drink when he came to the land of the Aztecs in It had a bitter smack and consisted of cocoa beans, spices, pepper and honey. It was the first chocolate used by the Spanish. They replaced pepper with vanilla and added nutmeg and sugar for a strong aroma.
In botany "chocolate tree" became known as "Theobroma cacao," which means "food of the gods. This tree grows only in warm and humid climate in the heart of tropical forests. It grows mainly in the North and South America, Australia and some islands of Asia. The height of the plants can reach meters. The harvest is gathered twice a year: in October - February and in May-June.
Each fruit contains from 20 to 50 seeds of cocoa beans. They can be round, flat, convex and have a greyish, bluish or brownish tinge. A healthy tree can give up to 2 kilograms of beans per year. Freshly picked cocoa beans have a bitter, astringent taste and pale color. They are unsuitable for use in the manufacture of chocolate. About thirty per cent of water and thirty per cent of cocoa butter contain in the fresh cocoa beans.
Sorting, cleaning, roasting, grinding, milling - these are just a small part of the stages of the production cycle, turning cocoa into chocolate that we eat. Chocolate is truly a unique product. It is delicious, high-calorie (about 550 calories per 100 grams of product) and can be stored for years without changing its properties. It contains 50-55% of carbohydrates, 32-35% of fat, 5-6% of proteins and tannins (4-5%), stimulants - theobromine and caffeine (1- 1.5%), such elements as Na, K, Mg, P, Fe and vitamins B1, B2 and PP.
There are about 40 volatile compounds that can give unforgettable smell. The psychologists have found that this fragrance has a wholesome effect on the psyche: it relieves irritation and soothes.
In 1526 the Spanish king, who had heard a lot of rumors of his cruelty, took with him a box of selected cocoa beans. At that time chocolate was a very exotic flavored drink. Soon chocolate became mandatory morning drink of Spanish aristocrats, especially the ladies, superseding tea and coffee, so widespread at that time. The cost of the new drink was so high that even a Spanish historian wrote: "Only the rich and noble could afford to drink chocolate as they literally drank the money."
During the next 100 years Spanish chocolate was brought to Europe, eclipsing the price and popularity of other goods overseas. The German Emperor Charles V required a monopoly on this product. However, in the XVII century the smugglers actively provided Dutch markets with chocolate. Nine years later, the daughter of Philip the Third, Anne of Austria, brought the first box of cocoa to Paris. In 1650 the Englishmen started drinking chocolate. In 1657, in London the first Chocolate House was opened. Anne of Austria
It took two centuries to get a modern form of chocolate, tasty and popular. The most interesting and important thing happened in the 19th century. First the chocolate was made with the help of a hydraulic press. The cocoa beans were processed and it became possible to extend cocoa butter, reducing the bitterness of the chocolate. Then the Englishman Joseph Fry was the first to make a chocolate bar of cocoa butter mixed with sugar. In 1876 the Swiss Daniel Peter added the mass of cocoa powdered milk and got the milk chocolate.
In 1674 people started doing rolls and cakes on the basis of chocolate. So they managed to get another sort of it, the so called "edible" chocolate, which could not only be drunk.
Practically at the same time with Europe, the most well-known Russian chocolate companies appeared, such as "Concern Babaev," "Red October", "Krupskaya", " RotFront. Russia was the first to flavor chocolate with liqueur, brandy, almonds, raisins and candied fruits.
Many people worry about the question why chocolate is white. The basis of a chocolate bar is cocoa butter, which is white in color. Add it to milk and sugar and you will get the white chocolate in color. Dark chocolate is the same - it has also only cocoa butter with cocoa powder, which give it a dark color.