Chocolate: Definition, History, Facts, and Manufacturing Process | Food

Chocolate: Definition, History, Facts, and Manufacturing Process
Chocolate: Definition, History, Facts, and Manufacturing Process | Food

Chocolate History

Ancient Maya, Toltec, and Aztec peoples planted the cacao tree about 3,000 years ago and utilized its fruit, the cocoa bean, to make a beverage (sometimes as a ceremonial drink) as well as use this as money. Chocolate was considered the meal of the gods by the Maya, who revered the cacao tree as well as buried officials with bowls of the stuff (along with other items deemed useful in the afterlife). In reality, comprehending the Maya's phonetic writing style required identifying the (Olmec-derived) word ka-ka-w ("cacao") engraved on those vessels.

Spain would be the first European country to include chocolate inside its culture, however, the specific circumstances are unknown. During the fourth journey in 1502, Christopher Columbus brought cocoa beans to Spain, although nothing was recognized about it at the time. Montezuma II, the Aztec emperor of Mexico, is said to have presented a bitter cocoa-bean drink to Spanish adventurer Hernán Cortés around 1519, however, there is no proof for this. Chocolate may have first reached throughout Spain in 1544 when delegates of the Kekch Mayan tribe from Guatemala reached Prince Philip's court with presents (including chocolate). The first documented delivery of cocoa beans from Veracruz, Mexico, did not arrive in Spain until 1585. Chocolate was offered as a hot beverage throughout the Spanish court, sweetened as well as flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. Chocolate wasn't introduced to France, England, or the rest of the world for many years.

The Frenchman founded a business in London in 1657, selling solid chocolate for manufacturing the drink approximately 10 to 15 shillings per pound. Only the affluent could afford to drink it at that price, and stylish chocolate houses sprung up in London, Amsterdam, and other European capitals, some of which ultimately evolved become famous country establishments. Many chocolate houses in London, including Cocoa-Tree Chocolate-House (later the Cocoa-Tree Club), which was established in 1698, including White's, which debuted in 1693 as White's Chocolate-House, were utilized as political party meeting locations as well as high-stakes gambling venues. These English enhanced chocolate by adding milk about 1700. The enforcement of high import charges on the raw cocoa bean delayed the lowering of the beverage's cost in Great Britain, and it was not until the 19th century that the duty was reduced to a standard amount of one penny per pound that chocolate became popularized.

However, as chocolate became more popular, the technology for manufacturing it became more sophisticated. Chocolate production throughout the American colonies started around 1765, with beans imported there by New England sea captains back from journeys towards the West Indies. The first factory, run by an Irish immigrant named John Hanan, was funded by James Baker. To grind fresh beans, water pressure was utilized. Around 1828, C.J. van Houten of the Netherlands patented a method for separating almost all of the fat and cocoa butter from the ground as well as roasted cocoa beans to generate cocoa powder. In 1847, Fry & Sons of England mixed cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, and sugar to make sweet (eating) chocolate, which would be the foundation for most chocolate confectionery, while in 1876, Daniel Peter of Switzerland combined powdered milk with chocolate to create milk chocolate. Flavored, solid, as well as coated chocolate items, proliferated quickly.

Chocolate Manufacturing Process

Fermented and roasted cocoa bean seeds are used to make chocolate. Such seeds are ground into a paste, which is then turned into a liquid chocolate liquor that can be solidified in molds to make bitter (baking) chocolate, compressed to reduce the cocoa butter content, and then pulverized to make cocoa powder, or blended with sugar and more cocoa butter to make sweet (eating) chocolate. Sweet chocolate is combined with dry as well as condensed milk to make milk chocolate.

Although it is not technically chocolate, white chocolate is a delicacy with a creamy texture and delicate flavor. White chocolate is made with cocoa butter, milk products, sugar, and the addition of vanilla flavorings.

Credit - Komal Sharma, Direct News 99