Chocolate traditions stand the test of time
(NC)—Chocolate has been enjoyed for centuries – and its origins are fascinating.
The fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao plant can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people of Mexico and Western Guatemala, with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to 1900 BC.
Chocolate played a special role in both Maya and Aztec ceremonies. Priests presented cacao seeds as offerings to the gods and served chocolate drinks during sacred ceremonies. All of the regions that grew cacao beans and were conquered by the Aztecs were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a "tribute".
The Europeans put their own special twist on chocolate, sweetening and enriching it by adding refined sugar and milk, two ingredients unknown to the people of Mesoamerica. Early Europeans never included chocolate in their everyday diet, reserving it instead as sweets and desserts.
For hundreds of years, the chocolate-making process remained unchanged. When the industrial revolution arrived, many changes occurred that brought the hard, sweet candy to life. New machines were produced, and people began experiencing and consuming chocolate worldwide. Not long after the revolution cooled down, companies such as Laura Secord, which was established in Canada in 1913, began to sell many of the chocolate treats we still enjoy today, including white, milk, and dark confections, plus baking chocolate for home-made creations.
Over the past 100 years as you may have noted, several chocolate recipes have stood the test of time. The classic warm cup of hot chocolate topped off with marshmallows is now considered as a great way to end a day. Another quintessential chocolate recipe is the chocolate chip cookie. When it comes to chocolate lovers, the bigger the morsel the better, says Laura Secord, who offers big chocolate drops for at-home bakers.
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