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History of Chocolate

Chocolate has been used in drinks for nearly 4000 years. For example, one vessel found at an Olmec archaeological site on the Gulf Coast of Veracruz, Mexico, dates chocolate's preparation by pre-Olmec peoples as early as 1750 BC. On the Pacific coast of Chiapas, Mexico, a Mokaya archaeological site provides evidence of cacao beverages dating even earlier, to 1900 BC.

By the 15th century, the Aztecs gained control of a large part of Mesoamerica and adopted cacao into their culture. They associated chocolate with Quetzalcoatl, who, according to one legend, was cast away by the other gods for sharing chocolate with humans, and identified its extrication from the pod with the removal of the human heart in sacrifice. In contrast to the Maya, who liked their chocolate warm, the Aztecs drank it cold, seasoning it with a broad variety of additives, including the petals of the Cymbopetalum penduliflorum tree, chile pepper, allspice, vanilla, and honey. Read more on History of Chocolate

Molccules found in chocolate

Cocoa liquor contains over 300 chemical compounds that give chocolate its addictive, aphrodisiac and euphoria-inducing attributes. Among the molecules are: anandamide, theogromine, phenylethylamine, tetrahydro-beta-carbolines, epicatechin, serotonnin, tryptophan and procyanidins. Read about these molecules of chocolate.font>

Health Benefits of Chocolate

The reasoning being that the cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids. Flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavanols have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot. Read more about health benefits of chocolate.

How is Chocolate Made?

The seeds of the cacao tree have a bitter taste and must first be fermented to develop flavor. After fermentation the beans are dried, cleaned and then roasted. The shell of the cacoa bean is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then ground to produce cocao mass or pure chocolate in a rough form. This cocoa mass is usually in a liquid form (chocolate liquor) and is usually mixed with other components to form commercial chocolate. The liquor may also be processed in it's two components, cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Read more about how chocolate is made.

 

 


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