on Jan 17, 2023
Chances are, when you hear the word “chocolate,” your mouth starts to water. After all, who doesn’t love this sweet, decadent treat? But did you know that chocolate has a long and rich history? What do we really know about it? Where did chocolate come from, and how did it become the beloved snack of today? Let’s take a look at the fascinating history of chocolate and the journey that brought us our favourite indulgence.
Before we start, it’s important to touch upon the history of cocoa. The chocolate we know and love today actually has quite an ancient history. The origins of chocolate go back thousands of years, to around 1900 BC in Mesoamerica.
Instead of what we know as modern chocolate, cocoa beans were the focus. Here, the Olmec people used cocoa beans in baking and brewing as a part of their culture. The Aztecs would later refine this process by grinding down cocoa beans into a cocoa paste which they then mixed with water and spices to make a drink called xocol?tl. Xocol?tl was so prized that it was even used as currency!
To answer the question “which country invented chocolate,” it’s technically what we now know as modern day Mexico! However, what we know as chocolate actually comes from continents a bit closer to us.
It wasn't until 1528 that chocolate made its way to Europe. A quick throwback to the origin of chocolate, Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes encountered xocol?tl while visiting the court of Montezuma II and brought some back with him to Spain, where he introduced it to King Charles V. Europeans were amazed by this unique new drink but found it too bitter for their taste buds—so they added sugar. This sweetened version quickly became popular across Europe and eventually made its way worldwide.
At first, chocolate was still drunk as a beverage and not eaten. But over time, it slowly evolved into the solid treat we know today. Its first step was becoming cacao powder (also known as Dutch cocoa powder) - invented by Dutch chemist Coaenraad van Houten in 1828. He discovered that cacao beans could be treated with alkaline salts to make a powdered chocolate. This process is now commonly known as Dutch processing.
To take it a step further, in 1847, Joseph Fry (British chocolate maker) discovered that he could make a moldable paste by adding melted cacao butter back into Dutch cocoa powder. This allowed people to shape the chocolate into bars and other forms, making it the first chocolate bar we know today.
Over time, chocolate evolved from a drink into a solid form thanks to advances in technology like steam-powered machines for milling cocoa beans into powder, conching machines for creating smooth textures, and tempering processes for creating glossy surfaces on chocolates—all making delicious treats much easier to make than ever before!
In 1875 Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter created milk chocolate by adding condensed milk to his recipe - a combination that is still popular today! In the 1900s onwards, new processes were developed to make milk chocolate much creamier and sweeter than its predecessor. Milk chocolate quickly overtook dark chocolate in popularity and eventually became what most of us think of when we hear the word “chocolate.”
Today, chocolate is made in various flavours and forms, from the classic dark and milk varieties to white chocolate, mint-flavoured chocolates, and even chocolate with fruit or nuts. The truffle is our personal favourite. In 1970, another Swiss chocolatier, Rudolf Läderach, invented and patented his "process to manufacture thin-walled hollow balls for truffles," which simplified and improved truffle production.
Since then, Läderach, the epitome of freshness and craftsmanship, has produced its own chocolate mass. This means that they are one of the few premium producers who can guarantee long-term quality from the cocoa bean to the finished product.
The history of chocolate is ever-evolving, with new recipes and processes continually being developed. It’s hard to imagine a world without this beloved sweet!
Its history is full of interesting stories showing how inventive minds have helped transform simple ingredients like cocoa beans into delicious treats worldwide! From being used as currency by ancient cultures to becoming one of the most popular snacks today – there’s no doubt why chocolate remains one of our all-time favourite indulgences!
Now that you know the rich history of chocolate, take a trip to one of the best dessert places in Dubai. Enjoy the best chocolate in the city, made from the finest ingredients, right around the corner at Nakheel Mall.