For The Love Of Chocolate
We may speak different languages in this world but there is one word that transcends all cultures in chocolate. That perfect food that sweetly encapsulates all that is good in life. Bitter, sweet, crunchy, or smooth, chocolate comes in all flavours and consistencies. But what remains the same across the board is the way in which it is revered.
Chocolate, found in the seeds of the cacao tree, was first discovered 2,000 years ago by the ancient cultures of the Maya and Aztec in Mexico and Central America. An important and valued part of their cultures, the cacao seed was used in everything from food to religious ceremonies. And while we normally associate chocolate with something you eat, the first forms of chocolate were actually a beverage.
When Spain conquered Mexico in 1521, conquistadors, fascinated with the interesting cacao flavour, began shipping the seeds back to Spain where the Mayan beverage was replicated ñ with the addition of sugar to sweeten the mixture. This delicious drink quickly became a status symbol among Spaniards the cost of importing the cacao product relegated it for use only by the wealthy. It would not be for another one-hundred years before chocolate made its way to the rest of Europe.
The Industrial Revolution allowed the masses to finally enjoy all that they had been missing. Today, factories and conveyor belts bring a dizzying array of chocolate concoctions to our stores affordable and ready for consumption. The ancient Maya and Aztec would be astounded by the forms in which chocolate is made today.
But while chocolate is available everywhere, its quality and price run the gamut. From the pricey handcrafted chocolate of Europe to the candy bars available for pennies in the U.S., chocolate can be found in any variety and at any price. But opposed to the status symbol of the past, the chocolate of today is a pleasure we all share with no regard to economic standing.