The Origins of Chocolate
One cool fact is that we can pretty much thank monkeys for the wide spread cultivation of wild cacao trees as they would eat the cacao fruit and spit out the beans, they were effectively planting cacao trees. Let’s hear it for the monkey’s!
It’s believed that cacao was first cultivated by the Olmec Indians in South America as early as 1500BC-400BC. Amazing to think that cacao has been around for so long, right? And that it’s only in recent years that we are returning to its “roots” by eating it in it’s raw state. Indeed, everything comes full circle in life.
The funny thing about chocolate and chocolate making is that much of it feels very secretive. Have you found this to be true? ( Mainly the process of tempering chocolate. Which we will get into in the coming days.)
I used to wonder why that was and then I came across this little piece of history :
“ Cortez brought chocolate back from Mexico to the royal court of King Charles V. along with the secret recipe for xocoatl (chocolate drink) Monks, hidden away in Spanish monasteries, processed the cocoa beans and kept chocolate a secret for nearly a century.”
A century, that’s incredible and I wonder if that “hush hush” energy has just stayed imprinted on the cacao plant for all these years ? Ok, let’s not get too esoteric here, but it’s interesting, no?
As I mention above, I am going to be demystifying the tempering process for you in a few days time, but I feel it’s important to gain a clearer understanding of chocolate before you delve into the rather scientific side of it.
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All the best