Chocolate had been a favorite among the Maya and Aztec people for thousands of years before Europeans colonized to the Americas. Chocolate was often served as a bitter drink that was used to maintain good stomach and catarrh health. Christopher Columbus was one of the explorers to introduce chocolate to Spain and it was well received by the Spanish Court.
The Spanish added sugar, honey, vanilla and other spices to chocolate for the purpose of improving its bitterness. This was not uncommon and the Aztecs had been adding similar flavors to chocolate for many years.
The popularity of chocolate started to spread further in the 1600’s and it became popular quickly in countries such as Austria. The Pope Alexander VII did not condemn the usage of the popular drink, as chocolate gathered acceptance from people all over Europe as it did not interrupt religious feasts or challenge Christian beliefs.
The popularity of chocolate spread throughout Europe in about 100 years but the growing market in Europe was bad news for the people that had to farm and process it. Chocolate required painstaking manual labor to make it ready for consumption and the cheap labor of the Aztecs and Mayans decreased due to diseases such as measles and smallpox.
The popularity and accessibility of chocolate increased around the time of the first industrial revolution after the introduction of mills and more mechanization. Horses and wind power were slowly replacing slave labor. However, slavery would be associated with cocoa production in places like Africa up until the present day. Further developments such as the adding of alkaline salts, milk, moulding techniques, the invention of the machine press and the conching machine contributed to the mass production of chocolate in factories starting in the 1860’s. This was the beginning of a worldwide love of chocolate that has been passed down for generations.
Almost every age, gender and group of people in society enjoy all types of chocolate products ranging from bitter dark varieties to milk and sweetened products. Chocolate makers are highly decorated and the popularity of chocolate is demonstrated by the sheer enormity of products on the supermarket shelves. the glorification of products by advertisers and the media is commonplace.
There is a good reason for all the hype about chocolate. Nobody can deny the pleasure of enjoying your favorite chocolate desserts with friends and family. The amount of appreciation for chocolate is always something that continues to amuse adults. The popularity of chocolate will continue for many years to come as different type of products enter the market. new forms of chocolate will challenge traditional forms that we all know and love. There are exciting times ahead for chocolate lovers everywhere throughout the world.