The Olmecs were Mexico’s oldest and most mysterious civilization in the world, who began using cocoa 4,000 years ago.
Between 250 BC and 900 AD, the Mayans, who had a thorough knowledge of architecture, astronomy, mathematics, and the use of cocoa and the foundations of cocoa cultivation started to improve it.
The Tolte and Aztec Mayans (1150 to 1500 AD) took over the cultivation of cocoa trees. In honor of the cocoa trees, they called them “Paradise Trees.”
At that time, cocoa was made from cocoa mass, water and spices. Cocoa was considered by various civilizations as “divine nectar”, or food of the gods. The Aztec God Quetzalcoatl (feathered serpent) has traditionally played an important role in the history of cocoa – he was said to be the great cocoa master and taught how to grow and make “Tchocoatl”.
Did you know that cocoa was not only used to make divine nectar, but also as a means of payment? Cocoa was very valuable, at that time a rabbit cost 10 cocoa beans and a slave cost 100 cocoa beans.
In 1519 very important meeting was held between Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, and Hernando Cortese, which eventually led cocoa to the European market. In 1502, Christopher Columbus was the first European to taste the Tchocoatl, a cocoa drink.
At first, the Spaniards didn’t like chocolate that much, but after adding sugar, they fell in love with it! In 1527 Cortes began importing valuable cocoa beans into Spain. Chocolate had become the favorite drink of the Spanish yard, where it gradually spread to the chambers of the kings of European countries in the 17th century – particularly France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. In 1615, a chocolate drink was served at formal French court hearings.
By the mid-17th century, the first chocolate rooms began to appear. The ultra-sweet chocolate drink was served from the most popular tableware – copper and silver bowls, which witness the popularity of this drink in Europe. Until the end of the 18th century, the chocolate drink was only available to nobles, the upper classes and the clergy.
Chocolate was also sold in the United States, first used to sweeten the bitter, unpleasant taste of certain medication and, secondly, to improve the taste of food. Chocolate, as a product, was not really appreciated in its own right until the late 18th and early 19th century.
Until the 18th century chocolate was made by hand. The manufacturing process started and developed significantly in the 19th century.
The development of production methods, the selection of the best cocoa beans and the improvement of cultivation methods have all contributed to refined products, which allow us to enjoy the delicious flavors of chocolate today.
During the 19th century, different types of chocolate, chocolate bars, hollow figures and pralines were made. From that time on, all sweet-tooths could enjoy chocolate.
A true cocoa fan knows that gourmet flavors are a real treat, so try all chocolates – dark, milk, or white…
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