Eating chocolate considered a sin during the 16th and 17th century “As chocolate enhanced in popularity, it fell into religious inspection. For nearly two decades, Catholic Ecclesiastics hotly argued whether chocolate was a food or a drink, and whether consuming it during fasts was a sin.
On the other hand, the strict and conservative Protestant Pilgrims who fled England for the Netherlands in 1690 took up residence next to a chocolate house in Amsterdam. The drinking next door so offended their austere beliefs that they named chocolate “Devil’s Food.” When they later immigrated to Plymouth in North America, they banned chocolate completely from their community. Years later, dark chocolate cakes in Amsterdam were named “Devil’s Food Cakes” in honor of the stern Pilgrims.”
The history of chocolate began in Mesoamerica. Chocolate, the fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao, can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people, with evidence of cocoa beverages dating back to 1900 BC.
Chocolate played a special role in both Mayan and Aztec royal and religious events. Priests presented cocoa beans as offerings to the gods and served cocoa drinks during sacred ceremonies. All of the areas that were conquered by the Aztecs that grew cocoa beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a “tribute”.
The Europeans sweetened and lightened the drink by adding refined sugar and milk, ingredients the people in Mesoamerica did not use. By contrast, Europeans never integrated it into their general diet, but compartmentalized its use for sweets and desserts. In the 19th century, Briton John Cadbury developed an emulsification process to make solid chocolate, creating the modern chocolate bar.
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. In the 18th century, mechanical mills were created that squeezed out cocoa butter, which in turn helped to create hard, durable chocolate. But it was not until the arrival of the Industrial Revolution that these mills were put to bigger use. Not long after the revolution cooled down, companies began advertising this new invention to sell many of the chocolate treats seen today. When new machines were produced, people began experiencing and consuming chocolate worldwide.
Although cocoa is originally from the Americas, today Western Africa produces almost two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, with Côte d’Ivoire growing almost half of it.