Friday, December 11, 2009


Ever since Richard Cadbury, a British confectioner, produced the first box of the Valentine's Day chocolate in 1868, sweethearts around the world have been known to swoon when receiving this non-traditional Saint Valentine's Day gift.

The ancient Mayan and Aztec civilization of central america discovered the delights of the cocoa way back 600 A.D. They prized the beverage "chocolatl" which was made from toasted cocoa beans, water and spices, such as chili pepper, cocoa beans, from the fruit of the coaca tree, also served as currency for early Mayans. Four beans could buy a pumpkin, 100 slave.

Chocolate remained a beverage until early Victorian times, when an English company perfected a technique for making "eating chocolate". The product was an instant success and a number of business soon formed to make the dessert. Enterprising confectioners soon progressed from bar chocolate to bite-sized chocolates filled with cream, fruits or nuts.

However, cocoa trees thrive only in regions that are within 10 degrees of the equator. These includes Brazil, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jamaica, Madagascar, Mexico, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and many more.

There are 2 main types of chocolate: dark, or bitter sweet, chocolate and milk chocolate. Contrary to it's name, white chocolate is not a true chocolate. It is made from cocoa butter, a by product of chocolate and has a rich, intense flavor. High quality dark chocolate should be shiny and break with a sharp snap. Top-notch milk chocolate should have a thick, creamy consistency.

Today, Europeans seem to have the heartiest appetites for chocolates. In Switzerland, the average per capita consumption is 22.4 pounds, tops in the world.

The best chocolate, like the finest wine, can be expensive. Quality chocolate is pricey because of the extreme care taken in selecting and blending the beans during manufacturing. Specialty chocolate shops sometimes called "chocolatiers" often charge more than $40 per pound for their best. Likely the world's most expensive chocolate bar, though probably not the tastiest, was part of a 3,500 pound load of cocoa and chocolate that British explorer Robert Falcon Scott took on his first expedition to Antarctica during 1901-1904.


bianca said...

Very informative! This looks all yum!

OneWinged said...

more to come dear. =) happy new year!

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