The History of Chocolate
At The Happiness Box, we love chocolate! Regardless of the time of year, we provide a wide array of chocolate gift sets for our customers. We love giving chocolate as a present and believe that it is a great way to show affection and appreciation for the people in our lives. If you would like to learn more or send chocolate as a present to someone in one of our gift boxes, then explore our website or contact us today.
In this article, we are going to focus on chocolate. We will discuss the history of chocolate and how it has become such a popular treat worldwide!
The chocolate plant is thought to have originated in South America. The Olmec were the first people to turn the cacao plant into chocolate, drinking it during rituals and as medicine. Centuries later, the Mayans believed that chocolate was the food of the Gods and that it had magical properties. They brewed chocolate into a thick, frothy drink using roasted and ground cacao seeds, water and cornmeal. The drink was considered so important that it was used as a form of currency. They called this drink "xocolatl", which translates to bitter water.
Years later, it was the Aztecs who first cultivated it on a large scale. They used chocolate as a drink, sometimes mixed with chillies, and considered it a source of strength and fertility. Furthermore, the Aztecs would use chocolate as an aphrodisiac as well as preparation for war. Chocolate was very popular during this time and it was about to make its way across the Atlantic Ocean.
No one knows exactly who discovered chocolate and when, but it is widely believed that Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes was the one to discover it, bringing it back to Europe in 1528. It is believed that in his search for riches in the Amazon, Cortes was gifted chocolate by the Aztec Emperor, could this be the first occasion of gifting chocolate as a present? Perhaps so!
Back in Europe, Spanish chocolate was mixed with sugar and honey to sweeten the bitter taste, however, it was still consumed as a liquid. Chocolate became so popular in Spain that even Catholic monks would drink it to aid religious practices.
When Cortés returned to Europe, chocolate was still unknown. However, it didn’t take long for word to spread. The Spanish kept chocolate a secret for nearly a century until they started trading it with France.
In 1615, French King Louis XIII married Anne of Austria, daughter of Spanish King Phillip III. To celebrate the union, Anne of Austria gifted chocolate as a present, bringing samples of chocolate to the royal courts of France. Soon after, chocolate became a popular drink among the French aristocracy.
Chocolate soon became a popular beverage among Europe’s elite. It was so popular that gifting chocolate as a present was not uncommon! For example, in 1661 queen Christina of Sweden received a gift of chocolate from the ambassador of Spain.
Chocolate first became solid in the mid-17th century. In 1641, chocolate was introduced to England by the wife of the British ambassador to Madrid. Chocolate quickly became a favourite in Britain. By the early 18th century, London had more than 400 chocolate shops!
Chocolate was still being made by hand, but the 1800s came with the industrial and therefore chocolate revolution! Chocolate was mass-produced throughout Europe, making it more popular among the lower classes as it became cheaper. As a result, chocolate became hugely popular worldwide. Furthermore, the technology allowed for chocolate innovations to be created!
Chocolate in The UK
Chocolate was first introduced to the UK in the early 1700s. The first chocolate house opened in London in 1657, and by the mid-18th century, chocolate had become very popular among the British elite. Chocolate was originally seen as a luxury item, and it was not until the 19th century that it became more widely available to the general public.
In 1828, Dutch chemist Coenraad Van Houten invented a process to extract cocoa butter from cacao beans. This invention made it possible to create chocolate that was less bitter and allowed for the addition of other flavours. In 1847, Englishman Joseph Fry discovered a way to add cocoa butter back into processed chocolate, making it possible to create the first solid edible chocolate bar.
The Cadbury Brothers in England invented the first chocolate bar with a filling. This began the era of chocolate confectionery. In 1868, Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter added milk to chocolate, creating the first milk chocolate bar. And in 1879, another Swiss chocolatier, Julius Mager, created white chocolate. There were many innovations to follow, making chocolate a popular treat among many different cultures.
Today there are endless varieties of chocolate available, from simple chocolate bars to luxury treats like truffles and fondue. Chocolate is now enjoyed all over the world and is often given as a gift, symbolising love and happiness.
Chocolate as a Present
Gifting chocolate as a present has been popular for centuries and is often seen as a symbol of love and happiness. Chocolate is a popular gift for many occasions, including birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Christmas.
From its humble beginnings as gifted chocolate from the Aztec Emperor, chocolate has come a long way to become the popular treat it is today. Enjoyed by people all over the world, chocolate is often given as a symbol of love and happiness.
In more recent times, sending chocolate as a present was common during World War 1. Families of soldiers would send chocolate to their loved ones as a way to show they were thinking of them. Chocolate was also given as a gift to sweethearts during this time, as it was seen as a luxurious and special treat. Gifting chocolate as a present was a great way to show your love and affection for someone. Due to its many flavours and styles, chocolate can be a personal present that can help one to express their emotions.
The Happiness Box
If you would like to send chocolate as a present for a variety of occasions, then you've come to the right place. At The Happiness Box, we have endless chocolate gift boxes for you to send to a loved one, regardless of the occasion. Whether it’s a Birthday, Graduation, Christmas, Valentine's Day, or for any reason, we have the perfect chocolate gift box for you.