The History of Chocolate
There are many stories of the origins of Cacao, but in essence it is an ancient food from Central and South America.
It was used as a sacred ingredient primarily consumed as a drink. The bean once fermented and dried was roasted over the fire, peeled and then ground with stones into a paste. The paste was then prepared over hours and whipped with local spices and water. There was no sweetener…. So for thousands of years the rest of the world knew nothing of Cacao.
The Cacao drink was used in sacred ceremonies, rights of passage, for energy, wisdom, connection to the Gods and so much more. It was so precious that an Emperors wealth was determined by his store of Cacao. It is said that when the Spanish came, and asked for Gold, they were offered Cacao, for that was the "Gold" at that time in the America’s.
Christopher Colombus was meant to have called the drink ‘dirty bitter water’…
However despite this, cacao made its way back to the royal courts of Europe, and of course sugar was added. Hot chocolate became the royal drink, far more popular then tea or coffee..
The story goes that by accident some of the cacao paste, made in a royal kitchen was dropped into a cake mixture by accident and put in the oven to bake, and the first chocolate cake was discovered. That was a good day!!
Through the industrial revolution, the journey of chocolate radically changed!
The Scientist Houten discovered how to separate the Cacao bean into its two main ingredients, Cacao butter and Cacao powder. The Cacao Butter was highly sought after in the pharmaceutical industry and cacao powder started to be used to make the Cacao drink. This is when drinking chocolate and drinking cocoa came into play. This discovery immediately allowed cacao to become more accessible to more people as it become more affordable.
At the same time Cacao was brought from the Americas and planted in Colonies in tropical climates throughout the world. She now grows around the world in regions that are 20 degrees north or south of the Equator.
And from here the journey continues with more equipment being available in the industrial revolution, to the evolution of chocolate. By adding the now extracted cacao butter back into the mixing paste, this velvety smooth substance became available. But commercial chocolate adjusted this. The first factories created cacao paste for the drink, then created cacao powder and butter to be sold separately, and then finally eating chocolate. They did this by mixing the cacao powder and butter back together with sugar. This is our modern day chocolate.
As the price of sugar dropped (sugar was a very expensive ingredient back in the 1800’s) but the price of Cacao remained high, more and more sugar was added to chocolate and drinking chocolate.
This is what has given Chocolate a bad name, not the ingredient but the amount of sugar added.
Over time all the medicinal health benefits of Cacao, known by the Ancients of The Americas and by the monks who also used it medicinally in Europe was forgotten.
This is why The Cacao Ambassador is calling our Chocolate ‘Cacao Chocolate’, to reconnect back to the whole Cacao bean and show that a new kind of chocolate is possible. One that is made as close to the source of the cacao bean, without separating it in Cacao Powder and butter, whilst also tasting amazing and decadent and be super good for us….
In addition to this of course, The Cacao Ambassador is reawakening our deep love and connection to Cacao and educating on how it is possible to enjoy Cacao all day long, as a daily food and even create your own chocolate at home from the whole cacao bean.
Find out how to make your own Cacao drink here : Ceremonial Cacao Brew Recipe