History of cocoa
ocoa food for god….It all started in 1520 when Cortes was received by the Aztec Montezuma who served him in a gold vase a dark, sweet and spicy drink aromatized with vanilla called Tchocolatl or Xocolatl now chocolate.
Nationalized in Spain, Cocoa slowly reached the rest of Europe. The cocoa paste was difficult to keep and the chocolate drink would separate as soon as it cooled down. Thanks to the Dutch, Coenraad Van Houten, whom invention of the hydraulic press in 1815 allowed to separate the cocoa powder. In 1819, Jean-Louis Cailler, improved his mixing method and added sugar to cocoa. As per 1830; he offered a line of chocolate with exotic names: “pure caraque”, “commun sucré”… Kohler joined the adventure in 1831 when inventing chocolate with hazelnuts. In 1847 Fry had the idea to add cocoa butter to the mix beans/sugar and mold the first chocolate bars. The race continued with the invention in 1867 of milk chocolate by Peter and Nestlé (who invented powdered milk). In 1879 Lindt invented conching, he added to the cocoa paste (the beans and the sugar roughly mixed) cocoa butter and mixed this for several hours which gave a shiny chocolate, roundness and removed lots of the acidity.
During all the 20° century, the consequence of this industrial race was democratization of chocolate and its improvement up to the product we actually know.
Chocolate is a gourmandise but it is also a comfort food. Its many virtues are now scientifically proven. Cocoa contains polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins B1 and B2, magnesium, potassium and theobromina (which has the same chemical composition than Caffeine from coffee and theine from tea).
It is commonly admitted that Cacao trees (theobroma cacao - which means food for god in antic Greek) can be divided in three varieties. The Criollo, the original tree, which produces a fine cocoa, very aromatic and rare. The Forastero, known for its lower quality but represents 80 % of the worldwide cocoa production. Last, the Trinitario, an hybrid between the Criollo and the Forastero, born on the island of Trinidad, distinguished by its delicate and floral aromas.