History of chocolate

The history of chocolate is one that goes back many years and many cultures. It is believed that the Olmec Indians were the first to grow cocoa beans domestically between 1500 and 400 BC. Around 600 AD, the Mayan people migrated into the northern regions of South America and established the Yucatan's first cocoa plantations. The use of ground cocoa beans in an unsweetened cocoa drink was restricted the elite people of the Mayan society.

In 1544, Dominican friars went to visit Prince Philip of Spain, bringing with them Mayan nobles with gifts of beaten cocoa, and shortly after, the Spaniards began to add sweeteners and flavorings to their cocoa drinks.

In 1657, a Frenchman on London opened The Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll, a first for the history of chocolate. At this time, chocolate drinks were still considered something for the elite classes. Chocolate rolls and cake came into being in 1674, making chocolate no longer just a beverage, and, in 1730, the price on cocoa beans dropped, making it more affordable.

Chocolate came into America in 1765, John Hanan, an Irish chocolate-maker, imported cocoa beans from the West Indies. He and Dr. James Baker built America's first chocolate mill, which, in 1780, began making BAKER'S chocolate.

The invention leading to mass production of chocolate, a steam engine to grind cocoa beans, was put into use in 1795 by Dr. Joseph Fry. In 1828, Conrad Van Houten invented the cocoa press, and coined the term “Dutching.” The year 1847 was a very important one for the history of chocolate. The first modern candy bar was created by taking “Dutched” chocolate and mixing some cocoa butter back into it.

Other events in the history of chocolate include the first boxes of chocolates in 1868, the first milk chocolate in 1878, the formation of Nestle in 1879, Hershey in 1894, and Godiva in 1926, and others.