Christopher Columbus was probably the first to take cacao beans from the New World to Europe in around 1502. But the history of chocolate goes back at least 4,000 years! The Aztecs, who lived in America, thought that their bitter cacao drink was a divine gift from heaven. In fact, the scientist Carolus Linnaeus named the plant Theobroma, which means “food of the gods.” The Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez went to America in 1519. He visited the Mexican emperor Montezuma. He saw that Montezuma drank cacao mixed with vanilla and spices. Cortez took some cacao home as a gift to the Spanish King Charles. In Spain, people began to drink Cortez’s chocolate in a drink with chili peppers. However, the natural taste of cacao was too bitter for most people. To sweeten the drink, Europeans added sugar to the cacao drink. As a sweet drink, it became more popular.
In 1828,.The Dutch chocolate maker Conrad J. van Houten made a machine that pressed the fat from the bean which results in the creation of powdered chocolate.
Today, two countries - Brazil and Ivory Coast - account for almost half the world’s chocolate.
The United States imports most of the chocolate in the world, but the Swiss eat the most chocolate per person. The most chocolate eaten today is sweet milk chocolate, but people also eat white chocolate and dark chocolate.
Cocoa and dark chocolate are believed to help prevent heart attacks. They are supposed to be good for the circulatory system. On the other hand, the high fat content of chocolate can cause weight gain, which is not good for people’s health. Chocolate is toxic to some animals. An ingredient in chocolate is poisonous to dogs, cats, and parrots. Their bodies cannot process some of the chemicals found in chocolate. Therefore, they should never be fed chocolate.