Despite the ongoing recession we have today, a brave projection of a 2011 sales for American chocolates reached about $18 million. Apparently, the dwindling market has not affected the appetite of consumers when it comes to these delicate sweets. Chocolate lovers owe it to the history of chocolates. Chocolates have been pre-recorded and its popularity was never once questioned. In fact, if the numbers are right, people are finding more ways to make use of chocolate other than satisfy wonderful craving for the tempting.
Food for the Gods
Thank God for chocolates! As a chocolate lover, my curiosity was piqued when I had a bite of the macadamia chocolates that I really love! Since then I knew that chocolates have originated from the Amazon were the first cocoas were discovered in 2000 BC. Largely used by the Maya Culture, the word chocolate came from xocoatl meaning bitter water. The Mayas love for cocoa was imprinted in history thru the wood carvings discovered dating all the way back to about 300AD, showing pictures of cocoa pods. The Mayan territory expanded in 600AD and they took their cocoa with them to the northern parts of South America until their wanderings took them to the Guatemalan shores. This area became birthing soil to large cocoa plantations where the pods are often presented as holy matters in rituals. They believe cocoa to be food exclusive for the consumption of gods.
Dark Waters in Gold Goblets
The hot xocoatl, a dark drink that is sweet to the taste, was regarded by Aztecs and Mayans to be a health sustaining drink and used it for many medicinal purposes. They also believed that drinking the dark juice or eating the fruits would bring them wisdom. Even then, the natives believed in xocoatl's nourishing powers. Their leaders drank gallons of dark chocolate dyed in red. Those were served in gold goblets.
The Bean Pay Ups
Because of its popularity and importance, the cocoa beans even became a form of currency among Mayans and Aztecs. They used cocoa beans to sell, trade and buy commodities during the earlier times.
In 1492, Columbus presented King Ferdinand and his Queen with cocoas upon his return but very little attention was given to them and even on his journey in search for spices in India, Columbus didn't realize the great potential of the chocolate. Otherwise, he could have been the one who discovered and announced the immense potential of such sweets.
And so more and more people have begun using the sweet chocolates as an important currency signifying wealth depending on the vastness of plantations owned. In fact, an explorer by the name of Hernando de Oviedo y Valdez claimed to have bought slaves and prostitutes using cocoa pods.
And in 1519, some parts of Mexico were eventually conquered by Hernando Cortez who was fascinated by xocoatl more for its currency value than its taste. At that time, the taste of the chocolates was a little bit bitter sweet and spicy. Leaning further that cultivating the cocoa tree is obviously a great business, he established multiple plantations thereby cultivating money for Spain.
Really, I can never imagine a world without these sweet fanciful delicacies in my life. As a chocolate lover, I have always had the yearning to discover new kinds of chocolates each day if possible. May they be regular or ordinary chocolates, gourmet chocolates or home-made but exceptionally delectable chocolates, my love and passion for hem will always be there!