Hello, I’m Riya, and welcome to the Buzz Podcast. This is ‘Episode 4 and today’s segment features… the history of chocolate. A mouth-watering discussion. Without further ado, pull up a chair, grab a snack— preferable chocolate, and sit tight as we begin. And also stay tuned our pun of the podcast!Many adore this bittersweet coco treat, but very little actually know anything about it and it’s lengthy history. If you can’t imagine life without chocolate, you’re lucky you weren’t born before the 16th century. Until then, chocolate only existed as a bitter, foamy drink in Mesoamerica, immensely different from the traditional form we’re exposed to today.
So how did we exactly did we upgrade from a bitter beverage to the chocolate bars of today?Dating as far back to 1900 BCE, people had learned to prepare beans from the native cacao tree. Their earliest form of said chocolate, required the beans to be grounded with cornmeal and chili pepper to then create a drink. And it wasn’t even the comforthing hot cocoa, but a bitter, and energizing concoction. This drink was considered heavenly, gifted by a feathered serpent god, known to the tribe Maya as Kukulkan (ku-kull-kan), and to the Aztecs as Quetzalcoatl(ket-zel-ko-a-lal).
Cacao beans were even used as currency by the Aztec, and only dark this form of chocolate at royal feats. They even gifted this drink to the soldiers as a reward after victory in battles and often used it in rituals.The first ever transatlantic “chocolate” encounter was in the year 1519. When Hérnan Cortés had sailed to visit the court of Moctezuma (moct-a-zuma). The colonists then returned to their homeland with the strange new bean.
At first, due to its bitter taste at the time, it found use as a medicine for ailments, like upset stomachs. However, mixing and sweetening it with honey, sugar and vanilla quickly made it a delicacy in Spain. The drink was difficult and time consuming to produce on a large scale, and required the use of plantation and slave labourers in the Caribbean and islands of the coast of Africa.The world of chocolate changed forever in 1828 due to introduction of the cocoa press by Coenraad Van Houten of Amsterdam.
The press separated the cocoa’s natural fat, or cocoa butter and this left powder that could be mixed with a drinkable solution or recombined with the cocoa butter to create a mixture that solidified as the chocolate bars we know of today. In 1875, A swiss chocolatier named Daniel Peter then added powdered milk to this mixtured to then create milk chocolate.By the 20th century, chocolate was no longer an elite luxury like it was in the past, but a sweet treat for the public. Today, chocolate is known worldwide, and has established itself in our modern cultures, due to its constant advertising. This was the ‘Episode 5’ of your truly, the Buzz Podcast, thank you for tuning in.
We hope to see you again next time around! And remember to stay curious! We we miss you a choco-LOT! Okay that was pretty terrible.