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Food Matters

About Chocolate

Chocolate or cocoa was first made by the ancient cultures of the Mayans and the Aztecs. The word chocolate comes from the Aztec word Xocoatl which means "foam in water". For almost 90% of its history chocolate was served as a spicy bitter drink and was even used by the Aztecs as a spice of their food or to make bread or pasta.

Chocolate was bought to Europe by the Spanish who were first served it by Emperor Montezuma in 1519. Emperor Montezuma reportedly drank up to 50 portions of liquid chocolate a day.

About Chocolate

Chocolate was very rare and expensive and was therefore mostly drunk by Kings, Emperors or the elite rich and because of this; chocolate became known as "the food of the Gods".

Cocoa pods have anything up to 50 cocoa beans in them and some 400 beans will be needed to make 0.5kg of a chocolate bar. Growing up to 25 feet tall Cocoa trees are very delicate needing a lot of protection from the wind and weather conditions. Cocoa beans are very rich in a fat called Cocoa Butter which needs to be removed to make Cocoa and re-added to make Chocolate bars. Removing Cocoa Butter makes chocolate smoother and richer. Cocoa Butter makes up 25% of the weight of a Chocolate bar and 98% of the Cocoa butter has to be removed to make Cocoa.

Chocolate first had sugar and other flavourings added to it by the British. Chocolate became as sought after as Opium, Coffee and Tobacco.

Chocolate has been used by armies for many years to keep soldiers marching over long distances with little food.