The Cocoa Miracle: A History of Chocolate
Cocoa Fruit, We Love You!
From the miracles of nature; cocoa tree... Are you ready to embark on a delicious journey that has survived to the present day with the 3000-year history of cocoa beans, the raw material of cocoa fruit and chocolate, and constantly improving itself?
History of Chocolate
The adventure of chocolate started with the use of the beans, which are the fruit of the cocoa tree and the raw material of chocolate, as a cocoa drink by roasting, grinding, turning into a paste, and then melting it in water. This is how the 3000-year history of chocolate began. The use of chocolate in its solid form today is only 170 years old.
The first society to start making liquid beverages from cocoa beans; Mexican Indians, Aztecs. This beverage, which they called "Xchotal", meaning bitter water and consumed by adding various spices, had a very important place in the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Cocoa was a very valuable beverage offered to gods and kings. Cocoa beans were also used as currency, and even counterfeit cocoa bean coins were found during archaeological excavations.
Since the locals discovered that the chocolate drink gave strength and energy, they kept it for the use of the nobility and used it for presentation in rituals and ceremonies. In marriage ceremonies, the bride and groom gave each other cocoa beans as gifts.
The Arrival of Chocolate in Europe
The chocolate drink, which Meso American peoples drank cold and bitter, was not liked in the 16th century when it first came to Europe. However, later on, flavor-enhancing ingredients such as sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon were added and started to be consumed hot. Since it is a healthy drink, this chocolate drink, which is used as a medicine and also enjoyable, started to be used in palaces and mansions as a fashionable drink of the period. Specially designed teapots and cups were produced for the chocolate drink. Tea and coffee entered Europe much later than this magical beverage. With the industrialization, the opening of chocolate factories and the start of mass production, chocolate has now become a food that can be reached by the middle class.
When looking at the place of chocolate in history, it should not be forgotten that even after the chocolate reached Europe, it was known and consumed in a very different way from its current form. The first edible tablets were dipped in water or milk to become drinkable chocolate. We even mentioned that chocolate is sold as medicine in pharmacies. With the development of technology, innovations have been made, the cornerstones of chocolate such as cocoa butter have been played, and major changes have been made in its form. Chocolate was very bitter to people in the early days of Europe, so they reduced the bitterness of chocolate with new methods and increased the sugar content. A new era started in Switzerland with the addition of milk to chocolates. Thus, chocolate began to take its present form gradually. Milk chocolate is the most preferred type of chocolate, especially in Turkey.
When Did Chocolate Arrive in Turkey?
It has always been an ambitious term to search and say the firsts of chocolate clearly in the literature. Because, unfortunately, there are no documents that were recorded or reached today. Chocolate, which the nobles could reach, became a milestone after tasting by important people such as commanders and merchants, was recorded and took its place in history by being recorded in this way. According to the information in the archive, it is seen that chocolate first entered the Ottoman Empire in the 1700s and became widespread in the 19th century.
In the Republican era, in the 1930s, domestic brands began to emerge with the encouragement of domestic production. During this period, factories and production sites were opened with the support of the state. Of course, it is useful to remind, chocolate; The traders and chocolatiers of the period experienced various difficulties because the raw material and packaging were a product from abroad. Due to various problems experienced in the later history of Turkey, chocolate took its place on the stage of history as a valuable food that is only seen on holidays.
In the later years of the Republic, besides the brands whose main business is chocolate, confectioners and biscuit brands that started to produce and sell chocolate are seen. Istanbul, the center of chocolate production in these periods; especially Eminönü, Sirkeci, Feriköy regions are leading.
The book "Indigenous History of Chocolate" written by Saadet Özen, which we take as a source in this article, shares very special notes about the history of chocolate and chocolate. We strongly recommend that you read the work in which chocolate, which leaves a happy taste in everyone's life, is examined so much.
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