TEA TRAVELS (TM) - The History of Chocolate

TEA TRAVELS (TM) - The History of Chocolate
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 Chocolate has complemented the menus of Afternoon Tea since its inception. Chocolate is as rich in its history as it is in its flavor. The true art of chocolate began thousands of years ago. The first domesticated cacao plants are known to have existed in 1800-300 B.C.E.,growing in the humid lowlands of the Mexican Gulf coast of Central America.
The ancient Maya, 200-900 C.E., consumed chocolate, course and grainy in consistency, as a frothy, spicy drink used in ceremonies and celebrations.

The Aztec, 1200-1500, revered chocolate as a luxury drink for nobility,warriors,rituals and ceremonies. The cacao seeds were used as currency.

Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez,in his quest for gold in the new world, in 1519, was introduced by the great Aztec leader Montezuma ll to"chocolatl",warm liquid, in a golden goblet. Due to the bitter taste, it was Cortez who conceived the idea of adding cane sugar to sweeten the beverage.

Finding favor upon its arrival back in Spain, the drink would have several transformations, adding new spices, including vanilla and cinnamon. Spain managed to keep their concoctions a secret for almost one hundred years. When a group of Spanish monks eventually divulged the secret, it wasn't long before chocolate was embraced by the European continent, dominating the Court of France. Great Britain, in 1657, opened the first chocolate house.

Technology to process and manufacture the cacao seed, combined with creative advertising touting both the health and enjoyment factors, popularized chocolate in many forms, to new heights. London, England alone had, in the years 1700-1800, two thousand chocolates houses.

Like tea, chocolate in North America is pre-Revolutionary. 1765 dates New England's first chocolate factory. The precious commodities tea, chocolate and sugar all coincided at the tables of the aristocracy.

Unfortunately, the trade success of chocolate resulted in the exploitation of slave labor in the MesoAmerican and African people. According to the American Museum of Natural History "at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the price of ONE TEASPOON of sugar was approximately equal to the monetary value of ONE DAY in a slaves life."

Ninety percent of chocolates history attributes consumption to be in the liquid form. The advent of inventions in 1776 of the hydraulic machine to grind cacao seeds into paste by Frenchman Doret and the cocoa press in 1828, by Dutch chemist Coenraad Van Houten, allowed chocolate be consistent and less expensive to produce.

The Quaker family, Fry & Sons, of Bristol, England created, in 1847, the first solid fondant chocolate for eating. In 1868, Richard Cadbury introduced the first boxed and Valentine's Day candy box. Further succeeded, in the 1870s, by the Swiss families of Daniel Peter and Henri Nestle developed the worlds first milk chocolate bar using the Nestles powdered milk formula. A few years later, Rodophe Lindt's invented a machine to churn a paste into a smooth, velvety textured blend.

The end of the nineteenth century, in 1893, at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Milton S. Hershey purchased a German processing machine and used it to establish his factory in Southern Pennsylvania. Hershey is now the largest chocolate manufacturer in the world.

During World War Two, 1941-45, the military received almost the entire chocolate production in the Untied States. To this day, the United States Army D rations contain three, four ounce chocolate bars. Chocolate now graces the tea table in many incarnations. There are unlimited recipes available to make your next afternoon tea a very sweet affair.


* The Maya's created pottery, with the word/ symbol for chocolate embedded in the vessels. ( on view at the American Museum Of Natural History, NYC, NY)

* The Meissen Porcelain factory, 1710 to present day, manufactured some of the first European chocolate pots, cups and saucers for the sole purpose of chocolate consumption.

* The Cardinals, at the Vatican, in Italy, designated chocolate as the preferred drink of choice while in conference to elect a new Pope.

* 1926-27 The NEW YORK COCOA EXCHANGE,INC was established. * The 1930s depression era sold nearly 40,000 varieties of chocolate in the Untied States.

* 1992 The Untied States space shuttle Columbia carried chocolate into outer space.

* Theobroma, part of the scientific name of the cacao tree, means" food of the Gods", in Greek.

* Cacao seeds contain caffeine, but in very small amounts. One oz. of milk chocolate contains the same amount of caffeine as one cup of decaffeinated coffee.

* Chocolate does not cause acne or tooth decay.

* The same natural anti oxidants, called flavenoids, that exist in tea, are found in chocolate.


1 teaspoon cocoa (I prefer Droste,but use your own favorite)

1 heaping tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1/ 8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

1 cup of milk

Marshmallows or whipped cream and chocolate shavings for toppings.

Mix cocoa, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a cup. Add 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix into a paste. Heat 1 cup of milk in a sauce pan on the stove. Be careful not to scorch milk. Fill cup with hot milk, stir. Place topping of your choice on top. Serves One. Recipe can be multiplied.

Wishing you Happy TEA TRAVELS(TM)! Ellen Easton

More of Ellen's Articles:

Etiquette Faux Pas

Tea and Silver

Planning a Tea Menu

FAQ About Afternoon Tea

Understanding Tea Time Service

The Afternoon Tea Gown and LaBelle Epoque

The History of Chocolate

A Summer Rose Tea

A Spring Tea Menu


About The Author

Ellen Easton, author of TEA TRAVELS(TM), TEA PARTIES and Good $ense For $uccess(TM) published by RED WAGON PRESS, 45 East 89th Street, Suite 20A, NYC, NY 10128-1256: (212) 722-7981, is a consultant and designer of related products, to the hotel, food service, special event and retail industries. She is also available for speaking engagements. Please contact her for more information.

Ellen Easton, the author, does not endorse any outside advertisements that may appear on this site.

No copyrighted materials may be reproduced in any other format, now known or unknown, without prior written permission by Ellen Easton/ RED WAGON PRESS. All copyrights and trademarks remain the sole property of Ellen Easton/ RED WAGON PRESS with all rights reserved. (212) 722-7981


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