Who invented chocolate?
Chocolate’s 4,000-year history began in ancient Mesoamerica, present day Mexico. It’s here that the first cacao plants were found. The Olmec, one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America, were the first to turn the cacao plant into chocolate. They drank their chocolate during rituals and used it as medicine.
Centuries later, the Mayans praised chocolate as the drink of the gods. Mayan chocolate was a revered brew made of roasted and ground cacao seeds mixed with chillies, water and cornmeal. Mayans poured this mixture from one pot to another, creating a thick foamy beverage called “xocolatl”, meaning “bitter water.”
By the 15th century, the Aztecs used cocoa beans as currency. They believed that chocolate was a gift from the god Quetzalcoatl, and drank it as a refreshing beverage, an aphrodisiac, and even to prepare for war.
A Chocolate Revolution
The history of chocolate continues as the treat remained immensely popular among European aristocracy. Royals and the upper classes consumed chocolate for its health benefits as well as its decadence.
Chocolate was still being produced by hand, which was a slow and laborious process. But with the Industrial Revolution around the corner, things were about to change.
In 1828, the invention of the chocolate press revolutionized chocolate making. This innovative device could squeeze cocoa butter from roasted cacao beans, leaving a fine cocoa powder behind.
The powder was then mixed with liquids and poured into a mold, where it solidified into an edible bar of chocolate.
And just like that, the modern era of chocolate was born.