Chocolate and its “rich” history

Where did chocolate come from and how did it become the chocolate we love today? A quick research indicates that the “birth” of fermented beverages made from chocolate can be recorded as far back as 450 BC. Chocolate was first introduced in a drink version only and served predominately by the wealthy at large functions as a way to amaze the guests in attendance. Only in the mid-1800s was it introduced in candy form.

Cacao beans were so highly valued but Mesoamericans, Aztec and Mayan people that at one point chocolate (in particular cocoa beans) was actually used as a form of currency.  Also, chocolate was a status symbol. Only the elites were rich enough to afford this delicacy of a drink but ironically enough, historical depictions describe the chocolate as “unappealing” with its first flavors recorded as “bitter” and “spicy” as the first chocolates were made with peppery spices and only later, once chocolate arrived in Europe, did the Spaniards, Italians and the French start adding components such as honey, cane sugar and cinnamon to their chocolate for a sweetness element. 

Chocolate was used as a drink which could be found at many important negotiations between Spaniards and Mesoamericans and also as a specialty drink for the soldiers to award their bravery and services. The process of making chocolate begins from the fruit of a cacao tree called pods. Each Pod contains beans which are dried and roasted to become a cocoa bean. It is believed that the first time chocolate was made in a candy form, as we now enjoy it, was around 1847 by molding a paste combining sugar, chocolate liquor, and cocoa butter. 

Enter Baratti & Milano, our wonderful confectionary company that was founded by Ferdinando Baratti & Edoardo Milano in 1858 in Turin, Italy and is one of the oldest European Chocolate Companies in operation today. Baratti & Milano has always used the very best and finest ingredients thus establishing themselves quickly as a luxury chocolate brand worthy enough to become the personal chocolatiers to the Royal house of Savoy. So next time you open up your next piece of rich and luscious Baratti & Milano chocolate, savor it knowing the long road it travels to become that afternoon treat that was once fit for a king and now is present in our homes. 

August 19, 2021

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