Tryst With History: How Chocolates Rose To Popularity Around The World?
How many times during a day do you come across chocolates?
From ads to displays, welcome packages at hotels, to binge-snack drawers, this ambrosia is always just a few steps away from you!
If you were planning to surprise someone with a little something special, your first choice would be a box of luxurious chocolates.
Chocolates make everything better. Introduced to the world as an ingredient for a Mayan drink, chocolates have come a very long way across South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and everywhere else on the planet.
Even the astronauts in space and explorers in Antarctica carry chocolates in their luggage in one form or another. While the United States and Europe are considered the largest consumers of chocolate, it is noted that more than four million tons of cocoa beans are consumed each year!
But the question is, how did chocolate become so popular? And rightly so, what exactly is considered ‘chocolate’ in the everyday vernacular?
Let’s break it down!
What Classifies As Chocolate?
Chocolate is considered a heavenly bounty due to its taste, texture, and state of instant gratification to the consumer. The meaning of ‘Theobroma’, the tree that produces cocoa beans (the mother of chocolates), literally means ‘food of the gods.
The seeds of this tree were used as currency between the Aztec and Mayan clans. They were the first to create a hot and spicy chocolate drink that pleased the mind and spirited the soul.
Theobroma trees are found in abundance across the Orinoco River and Amazon. The trees bloom in papaya-sized fruit with a large number of seeds. These seeds are then extracted by hand to secure them for fermentation.
The process allows the destruction of the embryo and blesses the seeds with a rich aroma that could make the best of us weak in the knees.
Post-fermentation, the pulp falls off and leaves the seeds dry and ready for roasting at the factory. Roasting of the beans leads to separation from the nibs often used in a few specific recipes.
The Theobroma Tree’s roasted seeds are then processed to create the heavenly chocolates that we have come to cherish so much!
It is a symbol of friendship and a call for love.
After all, wasn’t it a bar of chocolate that Rahul brought for Tina when he confessed his love? It is considered as the liberator of pleasures and the symbol of joy in movies like Chocolate.
Then there was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that redefined the meaning of chocolates in our lives forever.
The question is, how did chocolate become so popular? The movies and media may have impacted our response to chocolates in the twentieth century, but how did they reach the media houses and marketing studios in the first place?
Let’s dig a little deeper.
How Did Cacao Beans Become Sizmic Chocolate?
Over the last two thousand years, human life has undergone multiple evolutions of thought that have helped us become who we are as a species.
Similarly, chocolate has travelled as a critical component for a Mayan concoction of celebration to the modern equivalent of luxury Swiss milk chocolate bars that we devour we gusto today.
The Aztecs continued to dominate the cacao empire and continued to use it as medicine until the arrival of Hernán Cortés in 1512. The Spanish visitors experimented with the spicy cacao drinks made by the Aztecs and modified them into a sweet recipe for the first time.
They added milk, honey, and sugar to the bitter chocolate beans and then brought them to the European elite. In the 16th century, chocolate transformed into solid bars by Dutch inventors. They explored the possibilities of creating cocoa powder and cocoa butter, and then came the development of bars moulded for a variant form of consumption.
The European lust for chocolate led to the establishment of cocoa plantations across tropical lands. The African slaves continued to strive to keep up with the increasing demand for the elixir of European joy.
By 1876, Swiss Milk Chocolate rose to prominence. Inventive thinkers like H Nestle, D Peter, and R Lindt all contributed to the cause that furthered the melt-in-the-mouth divinity. The Industrial Revolution allowed chocolate to spread its wings over ordinary people.
And then, as the colonies continued to establish and dismantle across the world, chocolate became a typical snack for the masses.
Today, chocolate is available in countless variations. There is something to please everyone’s taste buds from milk, white, and dark chocolate to the variation in composition.
On a parting note, let’s remember Forrest Gump and his beautiful words:
Life is a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get!
Sizmic Foods has devoted a significant amount of time to perfect chocolate for Indian tastes. And it has unbelievable magic! So when you indulge in a Sizmic bar of chocolate, you know exactly what you got!