Have you ever wondered who invented the chocolate that you enjoy so much? Do you wonder if the Europeans did, and if it wasn’t them, then who was it?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep reading!
Who invented chocolate?
Nowadays, with all of the chocolate produced in Europe (405,000 tons were produced in France in 2014 according to the Chocolate Union statistics), we could easily think that this food was invented by Europeans.
It’s true that tablets were invented by the British. It’s true that milk chocolate was invented by the Swiss. It’s true that chocolate bars emerged at the beginning of the 1920s in the Netherlands and in the United States.
But, as the residue found on their pottery proves, the Olmecs (1500-400 B.C.E.) in precolonial America were the first to consume chocolate in the form of a beverage. To clarify, said drink, made of cocoa dregs, was bitter; and its taste was attained by adding several ingredients.
They were soon followed by the Mayas (600 B.C.E.) and the Aztecs (1400 B.C.E.); and this precious drink slowly conquered Europe starting with Spain because of the conquistador Hernan Cortes’ initiative. To find out more about this food pleasure’s history, read the article Where does chocolate come from?
But, if you want more proof that this precious beverage comes from Mexico and wasn’t invented by Europeans, here are two recipes used by the Mayas and the Aztecs a long time ago:
- Recipe brought from Aztec country to the Spanish Court in 1528 by Hernan Cortes:
- musk, ambergris, and orange-flower water
- 700g of cocoa
- 750g of white sugar
- 56g of cinnamon
- 14g of cloves
- 3 vanilla beans
- 1 hazelnut
- 14 grains of Mexican pepper
- Recipe for a chocolatey beverage of Mayan origins
- 600mL of milk
- 100g of grated chocolate
- 2 drops of vanilla extract or a pinch of vanilla powder
- 1tbsp of corn flour
- 4 tbsp of cold water
- 1 tsp of honey
In order to make this, you have to the 100g of grated chocolate along with the 600mL of milk, the pinch of vanilla powder and the teaspoon of honey in a pan and stir them as you go. You have to keep an eye out and make sure it doesn’t boil.
After that, you have to dissolve the corn flour into the 4 tablespoons of cold water before pouring it all into the pan that contains the milk, the vanilla, and the honey. Then you have to mix everything together with a whisk and serve it hot after having seasoned it with cinnamon, if desired.
Therefore, the Europeans did not invent this precious drink. Centuries before them, the Olmecs, the Mayas, and the Aztecs already drank it and had created their own recipes.
But, are the Olmecs really the ones who invented it? It’s hard to prove that!
All we know is that archaeological relics displaying their love for the precious drink are the most ancient ones found. But there may have existed a civilization before theirs that enjoyed it before them!
What We Should Remember About the Invention of Chocolate
As of now, we cannot be sure who invented this food pleasure. What we know for sure is that the most ancient traces of its preparation come from Mexico and go back to the Olmec, the Maya, and the Aztec civilizations.
But, it is obvious that over the course of centuries this drink’s preparation has evolved and that several people and civilizations have brought something different to it.
From simple bitter water, simple acid water described by José de Acosta (a Spanish Jesuit missionary who lived in Peru and then in Mexico at the end of the 16th century) as “Detestable for those who are not used to consuming it, and with mousse or froth that tastes very bad,” chocolate has now taken several rather delicious forms that are pleasant to eat:
- Milk chocolate
- White chocolate
- Powdered chocolate
- Cocoa paste
These modern forms are so pleasant to eat that a certain percentage of British women prefer to eat them than to make love. If you would like to know about that for sure, read the article Is Chocolate an Aphrodisiac?
Only dark chocolate made of 100% cocoa seems to have conserved the original bitterness. Why not try some after having learned all about it in 100% Dark Chocolate, What is it? Is it still chocolate?
Any doubts or questions? If so, feel free to leave a comment below!