A Sweet Beginning

Do you want to zone out and find yourself in a world of chocolate? If that answer is yes then read more.

What is chocolate?

Chocolate is from the cacao tree. The tree’s botanical name is theobroma cacao which means “food of the gods”. Believe it or not the cacao tree will not start producing the cacao beans until they are three or four. But they will only a little amount. You would really have to wait ten years to get a higher number of cacao beans.

Mesoamerican chocolate history

Mesoamerica is where Mexico started and also where chocolate started. Mesoamerica is ancient Mexico. The Mesoamerican people first found the cacao plant in the rain forest. They planted it in their backyards and they used it in their meals and they mixed chili pepper and cacao to make a bitter drink. The Mayans and the Aztecs also used the cacao beans as money. Cacao was also used in religious ceremonies. 

European chocolate history

Christopher Columbus brought some cacao beans over to Spain to show the king and queen. The cacao quickly became popular but with a twist. The Europeans removed the chili pepper and added milk, sugar and another Mexican spice: vanilla. The first chocolate house opened in London in 1657. the chocolate making process stayed the same for hundreds of years. In the 1820’s hard chocolate was invented and chocolate factories opened up in Switzerland making the modern chocolate bar. It was a luxury item.

American history in America

In 1894 Milton Hershey started a chocolate company in America. The first thing he made was caramel coated in chocolate. Then in 1900 he made the first milk chocolate Hershey’s bar. It cost 5 cents. This was very important because it was cheap and all could enjoy it. The chocolate bar got very successful. Alex the manager of Hershey’s store in times square told me that the Hershey’s bar was not always successful because the business failed  because it took to much labor and was very expensive to pay the workers. He started to use an assembly line. That means an arrangement of workers that each do a special task. Alex also said that Henry ford used an assembly line to make cars.

Fun Facts 

  • Hershey’s is a symbol of America.
  • Cacao is classified as a vegetable.
  • A 1999 article says that eating chocolate can add a year to your life.
  • A pod on a cacao tree is the size of a football.