How Chocolate Changed People and Places

Chocolate has been at the center of some very historic events. It has transformed people and places although this was often not evident at the time. Chocolate has been hidden, traded and used in various locations for many different reasons. Its value has often resulted in unintended consequences all over the world. Here are just a few ways in which the popularity of chocolate has changed people and places;

The Maya migrated into northern regions of South America and Mesoamerica in A.D 600. it is believed that they started some of the first cocoa plantations in the Yucatan. This probably affected the lives of Mayan people. They could locate and use the plants easily and no longer needed to travel long distances to trade or gather cacao fruit and cocoa beans.

In 1624 chocolate is condemned by religious leader Johan Franciscus Rauch from Vienna. He believed that chocolate incited passion and tried to convince monks not to drink it. This would have been controversial at the time but his message could not stop chocolate’s popularity.

People associate chocolate with love in modern times and this may have come about in 1662. Dr. Stubbe believed that chocolate was good for physical strength and Casanova believed it was useful for seduction.

In 1657 the first chocolate house was opened in London by a Frenchman. The shop was called ‘The Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll’. Coffee houses were already popular but this was the start of a growing number of chocolate houses in London. Chocolate houses spread more information about the benefits of chocolate consumption within the UK.

In 1728 Joseph Fry sets up the first chcolate factory in Bristol, England using machinery to process and grind the cacao beans. He made a valuable contribion to the Bristol economy and also changed the way that chocolate would be consumed by people in the future.

in 1839 German baker Stollwerck opened a company called Stollwerck which became one of the biggest companies in Germany. The company distributed its products throughout the world. Stollwerck was one of many individuals responsible for distributing chocolate in vending machines throughout New York train stations. Vending machines are now everywhere all over the world.

Chocolate changed the way that people farmed, processed, manufactured and consumed food and beverages. It transformed the economies of civilizations and cities. It also changed people’s tastes and also how they viewed themselves in comparison to the rest of society.