Native to South America, chocolate went through history and won on every continent. From its discovery by the Aztecs until now, the history of chocolate is mainly the story of an exciting food as mystical as greedy.
The Discovery of Chocolate
When the conquistador Herman Cortes landed in Mexico in 1519, he made an unexpected discovery. The Aztecs who welcomed him offered him to try the Tchocolatl, one of the local specialties. This bitter porridge was a mixture of cocoa and corn flour mixed with honey or spices. At that time, cocoa, the main ingredient of Tchocolatl was cultivated by the Mayas who used the precious beans as barter currency.
Cortes loved this first version of chocolate so much that he brought that new drink back to the Spanish court in 1528. Too bitter for Spanish taste, vanilla and honey were added to the drink to make it sweeter. Its success was immediate. The passion of some Spanish aristocrats for chocolate led them to reinvent the Aztec drink. They had the idea of adding cane sugar to create chocolate that we know well.
The History of Chocolate in Europe
Given the enthusiasm of Spain for chocolate, it seemed essential to the country to develop the culture. Cocoa trees grew up in all Spanish colonies of South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
The history of chocolate in its early days was very tied to Spain which kept the monopoly until the 17th century. The import and manufacture of chocolate were then controlled by the Kingdom of Spain. But soon the Dutch also found a real interest in this delicious ingredient. Known for their mercantile qualities, the Dutch imported chocolate on the old continent and introduced it to wealthy German and English people. The little chocolate bean had just made his majestic entrance into our old Europe.