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Chocolate history

The history of chocolate

The Olmecs, the oldest known civilization of the Americas, were the first users of cacao. Cacao is, of course, used for making chocolate, a word said to derive from the Mayan “xocolatl.”

Hernando Cortez was the first European to note chocolate when he visited the court of Emperor Montezuma of Mexico in 1519.

The first chocolate house in Europe was reputedly opened in London in 1657 by a Frenchman. In the early 19th century, after the introduction of cocao powder in 1828, the English developed solid eating chocolate.

The first chocolate box was introduced by Richard Cadbury in 1868, when he decorated a candy box with a painting of his young daughter holding a kitten in her arms. Cadbury also introduced the first Valentine’s Day candy box.

In 1875, after experimenting for 8 years, Daniel Peter of Switzerland added milk to chocolate to create today’s familiar chocolate. His then sold his creation to his neighbour, Henri Nestle.

The 17th century French Cardinal Mazarin never traveled without his personal chocolate maker. King Louis XIV of France established in his court the position of “Royal Chocolate Maker to the King.”

The chocolate chip cookie is invented by Ruth Wakefield in 1933. M&M sweets were launched in military ration packs in 1940.

In 1973, Swedish confectionery salesman Roland Ohisson was buried in a coffin made entirely of chocolate.

Chocolate is the number one foodstuff flavour in the world, beating vanilla and banana by 3-to-1. The pleasant feeling of eating chocolate is caused by a chemical called anadamide, a neurotransmitter which also is produced naturally in the brain.