Yesterday, October 28, was a great reason to celebrate in the United States, as it was the National Chocolate Day. If you tend to limit your chocolate consumption, perhaps you might want to relax your restrictions, at least for these days. Have you already celebrated yesterday or are you planning to do it this weekend?
The history of chocolate and cacao beans date back as far as 1900 BC. They are products of the cocoa tree, which originates from Mesoamerica. The beans were used by Aztecs and other peoples. They used them as food, drink, and even currency. Before getting to our modern world in the shape of delicious bars, the cacao beans traveled a long way in different forms and for different purposes.
One of the first forms that chocolate was consumed by people was liquid. Aztecs, for instance, considered it as an exquisite liquor. It was mixed with spices or wine, and it tasted bitter. Chocolate was also appreciated as an aphrodisiac. The ancient people also believed that the product was sent to them by their supreme god, Quetzalcoatl.
Cacao beans contain cocoa butter and nibs in even proportions. Cocoa butter is also used for beauty and make-up products. The ingredients also give the tasty product its flavor, which is crucial in foods and dishes of all sorts. Specialists explain that there are no less than six hundred volatile aromas in cacao beans. In the process of making chocolate, roasting the beans is of high importance.
The first researchers who documented the history of cacao beans identified three distinct types, namely Forastero (“stranger”), Criollo (“local”), and Trinitario (“from Trinidad”). Further research proved that the plant and its beans could be classified in no less than ten different groups.
Explorer Christopher Columbus and conquistador Hernán Cortés might have been the first Europeans to have contact with cacao beans. It was the Spanish people the ones that brought chocolate to Europe. The English word for the product comes from Spanish, which adapted the form “chocolātl,” from Aztec native tribes.
It comes as no surprise that modern day Americans are fond of chocolate. Statistics show that each resident of the United States consumed nine and a half pounds of chocolate last year. They also tend to spend more than fifty dollars on the tasty goods.
There are many forms and shapes for chocolate today. There are chocolates and bars, there is white and dark chocolate, and a raw type as well. You can eat it as such or use it for cookies and cakes. What is your ideal treat for celebrating National Chocolate Day?
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia