It is a truth most everyone loves chocolate. Chocolate has a long and colorful history. It started out as a bitter beverage. The word "chocolate" can be traced back to the Aztec word "xocoatl," which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. The Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, means "food of the gods." The Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical, divine properties.
Chocolate with sugar didn't appear until Europeans came along. Legend has it that the Aztec king Montezuma welcomed the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes with a banquet which included a cup of chocolate. Cortez did not appreciate the drink, calling it "a bitter drink for pigs." However, it was discovered chocolate mixed with honey or cane sugar was delicious.
By the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink throughout Europe, believed to have nutritious, medicinal and even aphrodisiac properties (it's rumored that Casanova was especially fond of the stuff). But it remained largely a privilege of the rich until the invention of the steam engine made mass production possible in the late 1700s.
The creation of the first modern chocolate bar is credited to Joseph Fry, in 1847. By 1868, a little company called Cadbury was marketing boxes of chocolate candies in England. Milk chocolate hit the market a few years later, pioneered by, of course, Nestle.
In America, chocolate was so valued during the Revolutionary War that it was included in soldiers' rations and used in lieu of wages. While most of us would not take chocolate as payment for a job well done, true chocolate loves might just consider it!
May you have the joy of sampling chocolate this weekend and Happy Postcard Friendship Friday!
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