How Did Chocolate Evolve?

Whether you are normally a chocolate lover or not, the moment when deliciously smooth and creamy hot chocolate touches your lips you’ll be in heaven. So whom do we have to thank for this smooth and creamy hot chocolate that we enjoy today? Let’s find out!

The English word chocolate is derived from the Mayan word “xocoatl.” Chocolate is believed to have been first consumed by the Ancient Mayans, whom we’d like to imagine relaxing with steaming cup of hot chocolate all those years ago!

Now let’s burst your bubble of imagination right there. The Mayans used chocolate as a medicine to cure ailments such as stomach diseases and consequently was nothing like the hot chocolate that we consume today. Although it was also enjoyed as a beverage, the Mayans drank their chocolate cold and without sugar and milk. So their “hot chocolate” was more “cold and bitter chocolate”! What is perhaps even more surprising is that the Mayans prepared their chocolate drink by adding water, chilli peppers and cornmeal to it.

This sumptuous chocolate drink gained popularity in society and people began to trade cocoa beans as currency and present them as gifts to mark important celebrations. Chocolate started to gain the same status as wine has had in more recent society – a treat enjoyed at celebrations by those who can afford it.

The early 1500s witnessed a boom in the popularity of chocolate in Europe and from here it slowly began to shape into the beverage we know today. The Spaniards first brought it to Europe, preparing an aromatic drink by adding vanilla and spices to it and serving it cold.

However it was only when chocolate was introduced to London that it began its transformation into a warm chocolate beverage served without extra spices and flavours. It was here that chocolate began to be consumed as a drinkable dessert.

In the 18th century the invention of cocoa powder in Holland completed the transformation into the beverage we know today. Cocoa powder blended easily with milk and water forming the thick and irresistible brown liquid that we call “hot chocolate”.

The new and improved hot chocolate drink with milk and sugar spread across Europe with restaurants and cafes desperate to serve this irresistible drink. The trend soon swept across the rest of the world.

So there you go, that’s how your favourite drink evolved. Hot chocolate is the perfect way to indulge your taste buds in the summer and of course beat the chilly blues in the winter. Cheers!

Richard Woods is a writer for KLIX, the vending machine services division of Mars Inc.