We tend to think of chocolate as a sweet candy created during modern times. But actually, chocolate dates back to the ancient people of Mesoamerica, who drank chocolate as a bitter beverage. For these people chocolate wasn’t just a favorite food, it also played an important role in their religious and social lives. I have to admit chocolate is not one of my favorite foods, but I do find the history of chocolate fascinating.
Europeans drank their chocolate with sugar and milk. As with the Spanish, most Europeans liked their chocolate sweetened with sugar, another expensive and exotic import from faraway plantations. And in the late 1600s, Sir Hans Sloane, president of the Royal College of Physicians, introduced another culinary custom; mixing the already popular chocolate drink with milk for a lighter, smoother flavor.
In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt created another important device: the conching machine (so called because the earliest machines resembled a conch shell). It churned the paste made from cacao seeds into a smooth blend perfect for rich, creamy chocolate bars. The divine drink, builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.
Hundreds of new chocolate factories and flavors have come and gone. Over the years, many creative confectioners developed lots of new varieties and flavors of chocolate. A few icons of the early 1900s still survive today. Hershey got his start making chocolate-coated caramels in 1893. And his competitors, the father-and-son team of Mars, created the malted-milk-filled Milky Way after an inspiring trip to the local drugstore soda fountain.
Milton S. Hershey stated, “Caramels are only a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing.”
During World War II, American soldiers introduced chocolate to the Japanese, where its popularity continues to rise today.
Chocolate syrup was used to represent blood in the famous 45 second shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "Psycho" a scene which took 7 days to shoot.
Once upon a time, money did grow on trees. Cocoa beans were used as currency by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations over 1400 years ago. When they had too much money to spend, they brewed the excess into hot chocolate drinks.
The Swiss consume more chocolate per capita than any other nation on earth. That's 22 pounds each compared to 11 pounds per person in the United States.
Rumor has it that Napoleon carried chocolate with him on all his military campaigns for a quick energy snack.
The word "chocolate" comes from the Aztec word xocolatl, which means "bitter water".
The amount of caffeine in chocolate is lower than most people think. A 1.4 ounce piece of milk chocolate contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of decaffeinated coffee. There is an average of 6 mg. of caffeine in both an ounce of milk chocolate and a cup of decaffeinated coffee, while a cup of regular coffee contains between 65 and 150 mg. of caffeine.
HOT CHOCOLATE CARAMEL Recipe | George Hirsch
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