All About Chocolate

Sweetest Secret

written by alexa bricker

"All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."—Charles M. Schulz

Perhaps the Peanuts comic creator said it best when he compared our need for chocolate to our need for love. It's no secret that the world at large is near obsessed with the stuff. When we hear the word chocolate, many things come to mind. Chocolate bars, chocolate cake, chocolate kisses—but chocolate in all of these forms (and most others we know today) is a relatively modern invention.

Though cacao—the plant that holds the bitter beans chocolate is made from—has been around for many millennia, research has found that it wasn't cultivated for use in food and drink until approximately three to four thousand years ago. Ancient communities in Mesoamerica began fermenting the pulp around cacao beans, which was much sweeter than the beans themselves, into an alcoholic drink.

Later on, the Aztec civilization regarded chocolate to be so valuable it was used as currency, as well as being turned into a spicy drink that was prepared for sacrificial rituals, birthing ceremonies, and other important events.

Once European countries like Spain, France, and Denmark found out about cacao by way of colonization, they modified the product to suit their palates by adding sugar and milk to make chocolate much sweeter, eventually creating the confection that we know today.

It's true that most of the chocolate we consume nowadays is extra sweet, but in its purest form, it is actually a powerhouse of health-boosting nutrients and vitamins! The Aztecs were certainly right about one thing—chocolate is a mighty force to be reckoned with.

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Posted in February 2018, Hub on Nov 20, 2017