Who would ever think we have an ongoing recession today, what with the volume of people buying loads of chocolates in the local grocery stores, chocolate shops and the shopping malls? Yes, a 2011 sales projection for American chocolates had been released and it amounted to a total of about $18 million. It seems that the plunging market has not even affected a single bit the craving of consumers when it comes to these delicate sweets. History of chocolates has always been documented from its very beginnings until present times. And until today, the popularity of these famous sweets called chocolates has never waned nor questioned. Truth is, if my logic will serve me right, people are now finding more ways to develop the use of chocolates, other than merely satisfying themselves with these wonderfully tempting sweets of delight!
Food for the Gods
Chocolates were said to 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 chocolate drink was considered in the earlier times as a dark drink that is sweet to the palate. They were regarded by both Aztecs and Mayans as a real health-energizing drink and even used it for several therapeutic purposes. They also believed that drinking the dark juice or eating the fruits would bring them wisdom. Even then, the natives believed in the chocolate’s nutritious benefits. The influential and privileged quenched their thirst with several gallons of dark chocolate dyed in red. Those were served in gold goblets.
In Exchange of Cocoa Beans
Because of chocolates’ fame and significance, the cocoa beans were even used as a form of payment among Mayans and Aztecs. The early peoples used these cocoa beans to sell or 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 proclaimed the enormous potential of such sweets.
And with this, 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 mainly because he was so fascinated by xocolat 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.
The Journey of Chocolates
And regardless of the controversies, it is interesting to know how the history of chocolates has prevailed, and how chocolates have struggled and captured the hearts of mankind today. Chocolates are made from the mature seed pods of the cacao tree which are then soured for several days to make the Chocó tang evident. Thanks to these cacao tree pods, if not for them we would not have discovered the wonderful gift of chocolates!