Auntie Kの日記


Chocolate: An orgy-filled history



In Greek, chocolate tree is called "Theobroma Cacao" which means Food of the gods.


2500 years prior to 1650 when it became popular in England, chocolate was culturally important for Mayans and Aztecs in Central and South America. They drank it with water and perhaps chilli or thickened with maize. Beans were used as currency. Chocolate was also used in ceremonies from baptism to burial.


It was also Rich Persons' drink imbued with health and spiritual properties. With Spanish invasion of the region, Spanish began using it as well.


In 16th century, British captured Spanish cargo and found barrels of chocolate beans but tossed them into ocean thinking they were some sort of dung!!!


The Spanish, the French and the Italians began adapting the drink for their own tastes and began adding milk and sugar instead of water and served it hot.


In 17th century, it was considered healthy. It was claimed to " Restore natural heat", "Generate pure blood", "Enliven the heart", Conserve the natural faculties", and etc if taken correctly. It was considered to be aphrodisiac (it still is, isn't it).  One author wrote, "twill make old women young and fresh, create new motions fo the flesh, and cause them to long for you know what, if they but taste of chocolate".


They say that The Marquis de Sade was addicted to it and used it to fuel ferocious orgies.  


In early 19th century, fat (coco butter) was removed from the chocolate. De-fattened chocolates were turned into coco powder. This gave easier access to the poorer and began being used for cooking.


In late 19th century when milk process advanced and the price of sugar sharply declined, the fierce competition between confectionery companies created 'eating chocolate', Milk Chocolate.  Chocolate became things to eat and not to drink.


Small doses of very dark chocolate is considered to be rich in anti-oxidants, theobromine and caffeine and they may make us happier, healthier, and less stressed.


Those chocolate lovers in 17th Century were right after all, weren't they.