Everyone loves chocolates irrespective of age and would love eating it any time and all the time if given a chance. But did you ever try to know the journey of chocolate and it’s origin? Let’s understand more about Chocolate and its history. The Journey of Chocolate since its origin across the globe throughout the years is interesting and informative as well. Keep reading and understand how chocolate is made and how did it reach you and when was it discovered.
Journey of chocolate around the World:
To begin with, the origin and who found the Chocolates, there is no solid evidence of the inventor or the Country who introduced it to the world. History says that the journey of chocolate began from the Maya civilization which once flourished in the areas of the present-day Mexico, Guatemala and the western portions of El Salvador. This civilization began around 2000 BC and continued somewhere close to 750 BC. The discovery of Cocoa beans was made to mostly use in the drinks served by the higher class of the society on special occasions. They were bitter in taste and mixed with corn and water.
Later on, in the 14th century when the Aztec Empire came into power, in the same territory as that of the Mayan Civilization the art of cocoa farming flourished again. The cocoa beans also turned into a material of economic importance. They were used as one kind of currency. By exchanging 30 cocoa beans you would get a small rabbit in return. And in return for a turkey egg, 3 Cocoa Beans need to be exchanged. There were many such exchanges done to make a living.
Until the beginning of the 16th century, the Europeans had no clue as to what a Chocolate is. This ignorance lasted until Christopher Columbus encounter with the natives who had supplies full of cocoa seeds. These supplies were brought to Spain and the cocoa seeds were planted and this was the beginning of cocoa production in Europe. The Cocoa plantations gained commercial importance 20 years later though. Then this sweetened beverage gained huge value so that later it became a luxury that only the rich could afford. Eventually, by the end of the 18th Century, its demand grew in lieu with the supply and chocolate became an affordable commodity for everyone.
Later on, in the mid 19th century, when chocolate was known only as a beverage, various changes were made to the production of chocolate and the addition of other ingredients like condensed milk and nuts made chocolate take a solid form. Again the advertising and the World Wars made the chocolate more famous.
The journey from farm to retail outlets:
The Journey of Chocolate started as a pod from the Cacao Plants, which is a medium or a large-sized fruit with seeds inside covered in a white fibrous material when broken. There are close to 30 or 50 seeds in a pod and each tree yields 20 to 30 such pods in a year. Roughly a pound or two of chocolate is from a single tree.
Harvesting: This is the process of the pods cracking open into two halves with a Machete by the cocoa farmers. The beans are then separated from the pulp and heaped into a pile on banana leaves. They are covered or put into a box with lids.
Fermentation: Fermentation removes tannins from the seeds that cause the astringent flavor in chocolate. This process takes around five to seven days.
Drying: After the above process, the beans go through drying to reduce the moisture levels in the seeds. They are continually raked to make them dry much faster. The Drying Process can take up to a week.
Roasting and Winnowing: When the dried cacao beans are brought to the processing plant, they are first cleaned to remove any debris that might have come with the seeds. The beans are roasted to bring out the chocolate flavor and the dark brownish color. Then the beans are transferred into a Winnowing machine. Here they’re cracked open and separated through a huge fan that can separate the seed from the cocoa present in it.
Grinding and Conching: Followed by the process of winnowing is; the cocoa nibs are crushed under stone rollers until they turn into a paste known as cocoa mass. The chocolaty mass obtained is then transferred to a separate machine called Conch where it is further refined. This process can take from a few hours to a few days depending on the machine.
Tempering and Molding: Tempering is a process that can be done manually with hand, but to make the process more efficient, most of the modern chocolate makers use tempering machines that can heat very effectively large amounts of chocolate. The final step in making a chocolate bar is pouring it into tumblers of different shapes and sizes depending on the requirement.
The Present Day Chocolate:
The 20th Century Chocolate redefined the traditional chocolate. Right from collecting cacao seeds and converting them into cocoa powder; chocolates has now evolved into a huge Industry World-wide. By including a wide range of treats with more added sugars and different additives; manufacturers have made chocolates the most craving food product.
Swiss and Brazilian Chocolates are the most craved and the best of chocolates that hits the mind. They have become famous all around the world. They developed a number of new Varieties of Chocolates and invented new processes that contributed towards creating solid chocolates and sugar candies to a great extent.
Chocolate till date continues to be the favorite food item among the youngsters and elderly age groups too. It definitely earned a permanent place in the must-have list of items for parties, celebrations and several special occasions. It is also a medium to express feelings of love & care making everyone’s lives better and sweeter.
BakeMate is one such Indian Brand of Biscuits and Confectionery Manufacturers catering to a wide range of audiences over 15 countries across the Globe. The manufactured and exported chocolates have not just become the hot favorite of the consumers but also are an important food that can never be missed in happy moments and the best accompaniment to official occasions.