The Origin of Chocolate

Greg Rice
05/14/09 07:53:47
1 posts Cocoa has its origins in the upper Amazon basin and many believe we can trace our love affair with chocolate as far back as 2,500 years ago. There is evidence of Mayan use as far back as the 5th Century AD and we know that the Aztecs used cocoa as a means of payment as well as the ingredient for a "drink of the gods". In fact, the Mayans allowed only societys elite to consume cocoa and as they migrated into the northern regions of South America, they established the earliest known plantations (AD 600).In 1544, Mayan nobles visited Prince Philip of Spain, bringing jars of cocoa, mixed and ready to drink where it quickly became fashionable. Spain and Portugal did not export their favourite drink to the rest of Europe for nearly a century by which time it had become traditional to add cane sugar and vanilla to make a sweeter beverage.Slowly, cocoa, as a beverage, conquered the royal courts and noble houses of Europe. The first chocolate house was opened in 1657 in London, although the proprietor was a Frenchman. Because so much of the cocoa bean consists of cocoa butter, the drink was thick and bitter bearing little, if any resemblance, to the hot chocolate we might drink today.In 1838, Conrad Van Houten invented a revolutionary new process the cocoa press. His press improved the quality of chocolate by reducing its cocoa butter content thereby producing a smoother consistency. Only 20 years later, the first chocolate bar was produced and for the remainder of the late 19th century, new and innovative chocolate products were launched to an appreciative public. From bonbons, to heart-shaped boxes for Valentines Day, to chocolate brownies, to milk chocolate our taste for chocolate is well and truly developed.In the mid-19th century, cocoa cultivation began in West Africa on the island of Principe and the neighbouring island of Sao Tome, and from there it spread to the African continent. In Ghana, the members of the Basle Mission successfully promoted its cultivation and many small and medium farmers develop this country into one of this worlds most important producers.
updated by @greg-rice: 04/17/15 20:16:10
05/15/09 06:34:46
2 posts
Wow! it's awesome! i never heard or read the history of chocolate origins and i'm impressed by this article! Thanks Greg and thank you Aztecs for this wonderful product!
04/03/17 02:17:03
20 posts

This article is so good, never heard of these things bout chocolates. Please post more about this!!! :D

The Slow Melt
05/12/17 14:32:08
5 posts

Hi all,

You may enjoy our most recent podcast episode:

Episode 8: The Deep Origin: Latin America

The cocoa and chocolate we know and love was born in the upper Amazon and domesticated (turned into chocolate) in Mesoamerica. In this episode, we will explore the history of the food of the gods and, as the leading producer of fine and flavor cocoa, the role Latin America plays in chocolate today.

Guests include:
Maricel Presilla , chef, culinary historian, author of The New Taste of Chocolate and coordinator of the International Chocolate Awards, on the history of cacao and cocoa.

Cristian Melo , professor at Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial, on the development of prized indigenous cacao and one of the world’s most prolific hybrids in the country that leads in fine and flavor production.

Chloé Doutre-Roussel , consultant and author of The Chocolate Connoisseur , on how the economic crisis in Venezuela impacts cocoa farmers and the industry at large.

Happy listening!


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kapil jain
@kapil-jain • 7 years ago

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@colorchocolate • 7 years ago


Enjoy a delicious premium chocolate from the Boyacá region of Colombia, considered among the best in the world. We offer a 200 kilograms lot of pure origin cocoa liquor,  fair trade / ethically sourced. N o other ingredients added.

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@clay • 7 years ago

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The 4 Chocolatiers
@the-4-chocolatiers • 7 years ago

Two changes we made with the chocolate is that this time we winnowed the chocolate. This time we didn't use a blow dryer to melt the chocolate. Two improvements with the chocolate is that the melanger didn't get clogged this time and everyone put in work.