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History of Chocolate

According to legend, the cocoa tree was discovered by the Mayan king Quetzalcoatl three thousand years ago. The drink “Xocolatl” was made by roasting and grinding cocoa beans and mixing them with maize meal and chili peppers. This drink was a particular favorite at the court of Moctezuma. When the Spanish conquistador Cortez arrived in Mexico in 1518, he discovered that cocoa beans where used not only to prepare a drink but also as a form of currency.

IHistory of Chocolate.n 1528 Cortez introduced cocoa to Spain. The Spanish made a different type of chocolate drink from the Aztecs by mixing cocoa paste with sugar and adding cinnamon and spices. This was more to European taste than the drink found in Mexico. By the beginning of the XVII century, chocolate drinking had spread to Europe. In 1657 the first chocolate drinking house was established in London.

Although Mexico remained the major producer of cocoa during the XVII century, cultivation spread through the world. Despite it’s spread, the quantities of cocoa produced were relatively small. For most of the XVIII and XIX centuries, production was dominated by Brazil and Ecuador. However, by the start of XX century, cultivation had started to move eastward, with Africa producing almost 75% of the world's cocoa by 1960.

The inventor of chocolate as we know it today is unknown, but the first eating chocolate was sold in England in 1847 by Joseph Fry & Son’s. In 1876 milk chocolate was invented in Switzerland. It was the agreeable flavor of milk chocolate, assisted by reduced import duties, improved transport and modern advertising techniques, that prompted the huge rise in consumption, which has been the main impetus behind the chocolate industry until now.

Chocolate is now manufactured in many countries and is consumed in all parts of the world, with over twelve million tons being consumed annually. In addition, cocoa is used to manufacture cookies, cakes ice cream, drinks, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.