Some curiosities about the history of chocolate
14 January 2021 - by T'a Milano

The scientific name of chocolate is ‘teobroma cacao’ which literally translates to ‘food of the gods’. 

Chocolate is a food derived from the beans of the cocoa plant, widespread and extensively eaten all over the world.
The origins of chocolate are very old, dating back to the Mayas, who were probably also the first people to cultivate the cocoa plant.
The term ‘chocolate’ comes from the word xocolatl in Aztec, the ancient Mexican population. It’s a combination of the words xocolli (bitter) and atl (water). The Aztecs and Mayas associated chocolate with the goddess of fertility. Originally, cocoa was used as a drink, even by the Emperor Montezuma, who started to flavour it with vanilla.
Cocoa beans were often used as a currency of exchange.

The cocoa plant started to spread during colonialism, like that of the beans and chocolate too. Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover cocoa and he and Cortes brought the beans to Europe for the first time. Throughout the 16th century, chocolate was exclusive to Spain, which increased the cultivation.
During the 17th century, chocolate became a luxury that spread among the nobles of Europe. The Dutch, who were skilled sailors, wrenched world control and commercial predominance from the Spanish. 

In 18th century Venice, the first ‘coffee shops’ appeared, the forerunners of our bars. They were also certainly ‘chocolate shops’ and competed to change the existing recipe and invent new varieties.Until the end of the 18th century, chocolate was considered a virtuous drink with miraculous properties. 

Today, chocolate is passion, an all-round sensory experience from smell to flavour, and sight to touch. It can be hard or soft, glossy or matt and its taste sweet or bitter. However, most of all, chocolate is pure pleasure!

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