Chocolate is almost unique as a food in that it is solid at normal room temperatures
yet melts easily within the mouth. This is because the fat in it, which is called
cocoa butter, is mainly solid at temperatures below 25 "C when it holds all the solid
sugar and cocoa particles together. The fat is, however, almost entirely liquid at
body temperature, enabling the particles to flow past one another, so the chocolate
becomes a smooth liquid when it is heated in the mouth. Chocolate also has a sweet
taste that is attractive to most people. Strangely chocolate began as a rather astringent,
fatty and unpleasant tasting drink and the fact that it was developed at all is one
of the mysteries of history.
1500 BC-400 BC
The Olmec Indians are believed to be the first to grow cocoa beans as a domestic
250 to 900 AD
The consumption of cocoa beans was restricted to the Mayan society's elite, in the
form of an unsweetened cocoa drink made from the ground beans.
Mayans migrate into northern regions of South America establishing earliest known
cocoa plantations in the Yucatan.
The drink became popular among the Aztec upper classes who upsurped the cocoa beverage
from the Mayans and were the first to tax the beans. The Aztecs called it "xocalatl"
meaning warm or bitter liquid.
Columbus encountered a great Mayan trading canoe in Guanaja carrying cocoa beans
Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez recorded the cocoa usage in the court of Emperor
Dominican friars took a delegation of Kekchi Mayan nobels to visit Prince Philip
of Spain. The Mayans brought gift jars of beaten cocoa , mixed and ready to drink.
Spain and Portugal did not export the beloved drink to the rest of Eurpoe for nearly
16th Century Europe
The Spanish began to add cane sugar and flavourings such as vanilla to their sweet
Cocoa gained popularity as a medicine and aphrodisiac.
First official shipments of cocoa beans began arriving in Seville from Vera Cruz,
The first chocolate house was opened in London by a Frenchman. The shop was called
the The Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll. Costing 10 to 15 shillings per pound, chocolate
was considered a beverage for the elite class.
Eating solid chocolate was introduced in the form of chocolate rolls and cakes, served
in chocolate emporiums.
Cocoa beans had dropped in price from $3 per lb. to being within the financial reach
of those other than the very wealthy.
French inventor, Monsieur Dubuisson invented a table mill for grinding cocoa beans.
Swedish naturalist, Carolus Linnaeus was dissatisfied with the word "cocoa," so renamed
it "theobroma," Greek for "food of the gods."
Chocolate was introduced to the United States when Irish chocolate-maker John Hanan
imported cocoa beans from the West Indies into Dorchester, Massachusetts, to refine
them with the help of American Dr. James Baker. The pair soon after built America's
first chocolate mill and by 1780, the mill was making the famous BAKER'S ® chocolate.
Dr. Joseph Fry of Bristol, England, employed a steam engine for grinding cocoa beans,
an invention that led to the manufacture of chocolate on a large factory scale.
Antoine Brutus Menier built the first industrial manufacturing facility for chocolate.
The pioneer of Swiss chocolate-making, François Louis Callier, opened the first Swiss
The invention of the cocoa press, by Conrad Van Houten, helped cut prices and improve
the quality of chocolate by squeezing out some of the cocoa butter and giving the
beverage a smoother consistency. Conrad Van Houten patented his invention in Amsterdam
and his alkalizing process became known as "Dutching". Several years earlier, Van
Houten was the first to add alkaline salts to powdered cocoa to make it mix better
A form of solid eating chocolate was developed by Joseph Fry & Sons, a British chocolate
Joseph Fry & Son discovered a way to mix some of the cocoa butter back into the "Dutched"
chocolate, and added sugar, creating a paste that could be moulded. The result was
the first modern chocolate bar.
Joseph Fry & Son and Cadbury Brothers displayed chocolates for eating at an exhibition
in Bingley Hall, Birmingham, England.
Prince Albert's Exposition in London was the first time that Americans were introduced
to bonbons, chocolate creams, hand candies (called "boiled sweets"), and caramels.
Richard Cadbury created the first known heart-shaped candy box for Valentine's Day.
John Cadbury mass-marketed the first boxes of chocolate candies.
Daniel Peter of Vevey, Switzerland, experimented for eight years before finally inventing
a means of making milk chocolate for eating.
Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé joined together to form the Nestlé Company.
Rodolphe Lindt of Berne, Switzerland, produced a more smooth and creamy chocolate
that melted on the tongue. He invented the "conching" machine. To conch meant to
heat and roll chocolate in order to refine it. After chocolate had been conched for
seventy-two hours and had more cocoa butter added to it, it was possible to create
chocolate "fondant" and other creamy forms of chocolate.
The first known published recipe for chocolate brownies appeared in the Sears and
Canadian, Arthur Ganong marketed the first nickel chocolate bar.
Swiss confiseur Jules Sechaud of Montreux introduced a machine process for manufacturing
Belgian chocolatier, Joseph Draps starts the Godiva Company to compete with Hershey's
and Nestle's American market.