Published on August 23rd, 2009 | by Yellow Magpie2
Chocolate: A Mouthful Of Dark Dreamy Deliciousness
Chocolate Photo By Klaus Hopfner Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence
Ah…Chocolate, rich…delicious…silky smooth, it is the stuff of dreams and fantasies. Imagine placing a square of your favourite chocolate into your mouth, feeling the sensation of it melting on your tongue, as it smoothly caresses the back of your throat engulfing you in a taste explosion. Is there anything better!
Is it any wonder we all long for the taste of one of the most sumptuous foods in the world.
But what are the origins of this heavenly delight? It is believed that cacao from which dreamy chocolate is made, originated from the Amazon rainforest at least 4,000 years ago.
Cacao The Origins Of True Chocolate
Chocolate is made from cacao. The cacao tree was worshiped by the Mayan tribe, in fact cacao means God Food. The Mayan, tribe, mixed the seeds of the cacao with spices such as chilli and maize to make a spicy bitter brew which they allowed to ferment, this drink was then served at ceremonies or reserved for the wealthy.
The Aztecs also enjoyed the cacao drink calling it xocolatl. Later the Spanish conquistadors were unable to pronounce the name so they changed the name to chocolat, with the English changing it again to chocolate.
The Best Chocolate In The World
Most of the world’s chocolate comes from Africa, as much as 85 per cent. However, 15 per cent comes from South America. Cacao from South American particulary the Venezuelan and Peruvian varieties are thought to make the most flavoursome and consequently the most delicious dark stuff known to mankind.
Most People Don’t Eat Chocolate
In fact, the ‘chocolate’ that is found in Ireland, North America and the United Kingdom isn’t chocolate at all. It is mostly vegetable fat, and sugar with a tiny percentage of chocolate. Because of this there are EU restrictions in several European countries which prohibit this mixture of fat and sugar being called real chocolate. Real chocolate is never sweet and in fact has no sugary taste whatsoever. Indeed 100 per cent chocolate has health giving properties and can even help weight loss.
The Creation Of Dark Chemistry
So how is real chocolate made? Cacao is harvested off of the cacao tree in pods. This happens up to three times a year, depending on the weather. The pods are cracked open and the cacao nuts are removed. They are left to dry in the sun until they have the correct mositure content. The dried cocoa is put into bags in the same way that coffee beans are stored and left to mature.
The cocao beans are separated and deshelled. They are then mashed by milling. These produce a fine chocolate mixture. Finally, they are milled for a second time , this process is called conching which produces a liquid that we would instantly recognise as chocolate. This product is 100 per cent cocao and tastes rather bitter.
Mixed Chocolate – The People’s Choice
Although this product is very healthy it doesn’t suit everyone’s pallets. Therefore, milk and sugar is added to reduce the bitterness. You can purchase real chocolate in varying quantities of cacao, milk and sugar. However, the 100 per cent cocao is highly sought after in chocolate-loving countries for its healthy properties.
The History Of European Chocolate
Chocolate was brought back to Europe by Cortez. By this time the conquistadors, had learned that if they added sugar and vanilla to cacao, they could make a very pleasant drink.
A group of Mexican nuns are said to have made the first chocolate product and exported it to raise money for their convent.
The first chocolate factory was opened in Spain in the 17th century. Other factories soon opened in other European countries. Joseph Fry and sons is credited with creating the first chocolate bar in England in 1847. The most popular maker of chocolate these days is Cadbury.
The Enormous Benefits Of Chocolate
Chocolate has many positive benefits. Chief amongst those are its ability to make us feel good, to bring pleasure to people of all ages. In its pure form, chocolate is very healthy and the perfect way to get rid of extra pounds as it helps to suppress our appetites while at the same time providing us with a burst of much needed energy.
Because real chocolate is not sweet it can be added to savoury food as well as deserts. It time to come it may become the culinary ingredient of choice for top chefs. Many people believe chocolate to be an aphrodisiac. So its uses seem to be unlimited.
Recommended Reading And Viewing
You might like to check out Yellow Magpie’s Supertasters And Non-Tasters: It’s All About The Tongue and .
The mouthwatering film, Chocolat, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, is highly recommended, follow it up by reading the wonderful bestselling book by Joanne Harris, Chocolat. Also if you want to read more on the history of chocolate, try ‘The True History of Chocolate, Second Edition by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe, see below. Or if you prefer why not try some delicious chocolate recipies or just sink your teeth into some Belgian chocolates.