History of Chocolate Culture

600 Culture and Cocoa
A.D. 600 the Mayas undertook a massive migration which led this highly civilised people from Central America deep into the northern regions of South America. In Yucatan they established the earliest known cocoa plantations. There is no doubt, however, that the Mayas must have been familiar with cocoa several centuries earlier.

Chocolate Culture

1000 Beans and Figures
From the very early days of cocoa the peoples of Central America used beans as a form of payment. The use of cocoa beans as units of calculation must also have become established before A.D. 1000. One Zontli equalled 400 cocoa beans, while 8000 beans equalled one Xiquipilli. In Mexican picture scripts a basket with 8000 beans represents the figure 8000.

1200 Chocolate War
By subjugating the Mayas, the Aztecs strengthened their supremacy in Mexico. Records dating from this period include details of deliveries of cocoa which were imposed as tributes on conquered tribes.

History of Chocolate


1502 Columbus and the Cocoa bean
On his fourth voyage to America, Columbus landed on 30th July 1502 in Nicaragua and was the first European to discover cocoa beans. These were used by the natives as currency and also in the preparation of a delightful drink. But Columbus, who was still searching for the sea route to India, was not interested in cocoa.

1513 Payment in Beans
Hernando de Oviedo y Valdez, who went to America in 1513 as a member of Pedrarias Avila's expedition, reports that he bought a slave for 100 cocoa beans.Babylon

1519 A Spanish Bank
Hernando Cortez, who conquered part of Mexico in 1519, finds the taste of cocoa not particularly pleasant and is, therefore, much more interested in the value of cocoa as a means of payment. He immediately establishes in the name of Spain a cocoa Chocolate Culture plantation where, henceforth, 'money' will be cultivated.

1528 Sweet Plunder
In 1528, Cortez brings back to Europe the first cocoa and the utensils necessary for its preparation.

1609 The First Chocolate Book
'Libro en el cual se trata del chocolate' is the title of a book which appear- ed in Mexico in 1609. It is the first book devoted entirely to the subject of chocolate.

1615 Fruitful Marriage
The Spanish princess Anna of Austria marries Louis XIII and intro- duces, amongst other Spanish customs, the drinking of chocolate at the French court.

1657 A Frenchman in London
London's first chocolate shop is opened by a Frenchman in 1657.

1662 A Solomon of Chocolate
After Pope Pius V had found cocoa so unpleasant that he declared, in 1569, that "this drink does not break the fast", the supreme church of Rome became more and more tolerant towards the exquisite beverage. The question of the fast took on a new urgency. In 1662, Cardinal Brancaccio hands down the judgment of Solomon:"Liquidum non fragit jejunum." In other words:"Liquids (in the form of chocolate) do not break the Chocolate Culture fast." Clearly, one had to wait until Easter to indulge in the eating of chocolate.

1670 The Fate of a Seaman
Helmsman Pedro Bravo do los Camerinos decides that he has had enough of Christian voyages of exploration and settles in the Philippines, where he spends the rest of his life planting cocoa, thus laying the foundations for one of the great plantations of that time.

1674 Roll Call
"At the Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll" was the name of a famous London coffee-house where, as early as 1674, one could enjoy chocolate in cakes and rolls "in the Spanish style".

1677 A Royal Decree
On the strength of a royal decree dated 1st November 1677, Brazil - later to achieve an important position in the world market - establishes in the State of Para' the first cocoa plantations.

1697 Premier in Zurich
Heinrich Escher, the mayor of Zurich, visits Brussels where he drinks chocolate and returns to his home town with tidings of the new sweet drink.

1704 Chocolate Tax
Towards the end of the 17th century, chocolate makes its appearance in Germany. The policy of restricting the importation of foreign produce leads Frederick I of Prussia to impose a tax on chocolate in 1704. Anyone wishing to pay homage to its pleasures has to pay two thalers for a permit.

1711 Chocolate Migration
Emperor Charles VI transfers his court from Madrid to Vienna in 1711. With the court, chocolate moves in by via the blue Danube.

1630 Chocolateers
As early as 1630, the coffee-houses of Florence and Venice are offering chocolate whose reputation reaches far beyond the country's borders. Italian chocolateers, well versed in the art of making chocolate, are, therefore, welcome Chocolate Culture visitors in France, Germany and Switzerland.

1747 No Hawkers
In the year 1747, Frederick the Great forbids all manner of hawking, especially the hawking of chocolate.

1780 First Factory
About the year 1780, the first machine-made chocolate is produced in Barcelona.

1819 Pioneers
The first Swiss chocolate factory is set up in a former mill near Vevey. The founder, Francois-Louis Cailler, had learned the secrets of the choco- late-making trade in Italy.

1822 Ornamental Plant
The Portuguese Jose Ferreira Gomes introduces the cocoa tree as an ornamental plant on the small island of Principe in the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa.

1875 With Milk
After eight years of experiment, the Swiss Daniel Peter puts the first milk chocolate on the market in 1875.

1879 Melting Sweetness
Rodolphe Lindt of Berne produces chocolate which melts on the tongue for the first time in the year 1879.

1900 Changes in Leadership
Spain, formerly the classic land of chocolate, falls far behind. Germany takes the lead in consumption per head, followed by the United States, France and Great Britain. In just a decade or two another country will be playing first violin in the orchestra of the chocolate nations - Switzerland. The reputation of Swiss chocolate, bolstered by unbroken series of medals at international exhibitions, has not only Chocolate Culture fallen upon the ears of foreigners. It has also conquered Swiss palates. Like bratwurst, r?sti and fondue, chocolate has become a national dish.


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