Many years after chocolate was first introduced to the Spanish monarchy and failed to seal their approval, Cortez dared to present King Charles V with the newfound harvest from the New World and this made all people want chocolate for love in the future.
The bittersweet taste of the cocoa bean inspired very little support from its drinkers until Cortez blew the world away with a discovery that, when mixed with sugar and milk, along with many other sweeteners and spices made chocolate become very enticing! The concoction was so revered in the high courts that chocolate was reserved only for the nobility and the Spanish refused to share this delicacy with any other nation.
Dominican Friars who used to process the revered beans finally let the secret out in 1544 and chocolate for love soon took Europe by storm.
A sweet chocolate love story in Paris
Chocolate was introduced to France when Spanish Princess Maria Theresa married Louis XIV of France. As an engagement gift, she gave her fiancé a box of ornately decorated chocolates which the French took to their heart. Their marriage must have been made in chocolate heaven because it was said that King Louis made love twice a day with his wife.
The chocolate’s aphrodisiac qualities were further recognized by the French nobilities and even their art reflected the dark, tempestuous allure of chocolates. Stories such as that of Casanova using chocolates to seduce his lovers and Madame du Barry becoming a nymphomaniac were passed on.
From mistake to Praline
A funny chocolate anecdote comes to mind; the renowned Duke of Plesslis-Praslin was once kept waiting for his dessert owing to the accidental dropping of a bowlful of almonds in the kitchen. Panic-stricken, the chef poured burned sugar over the beans! The Duke couldn’t be made to wait any longer so as soon as the sugar cooled, the chef served the noble a plate of almonds covered with burnt sugar and he was delighted. So impressed was he that he gave his name to this mistake! Today we know it as Praline.
America greets Cadbury
Europe remained in awe of this delicious treat. Meanwhile Americans discovered chocolate and in 1765, the first American chocolate factory was built. Soon, major countries in Europe followed the examples of Spain along with America to establish more factories and find more ways to serve chocolate for love.
In 1828, it was found that, by including a little bit of the cocoa butter, made the chocolate drink a lot smoother. Between the 1830’s and late 1840’s chocolate makers developed the drink into the solid form and later a fondant was introduced. In 1849, the Cadbury Brothers exhibited their decadent chocolate creations in Birmingham, England.
The Swiss take the lead
After many years of dedicated study on how to process the cocoa, the Swiss discovered a way to cook the chocolate by means of refining it via ‘conching’. It took about 72 hours of continuous rolling and refining so that soon after putting the chocolate in your mouth, it melts thus the known texture today. It was also the Swiss who discovered a means to add flavour to the chocolate by filling it.
Whatever kind of chocolate you have today it is a result of many years of devotion to the xocoatl. Men before us have been captured and tempted to their cores and those who followed only continued what they long worked for – to make chocolate the staple that it is today. What started out as mere beans that men barely noticed has become a valued treat and the creamy, lustful and rich sweet that chocolate lovers will die for!