For the love of Chocolate
Most people know that chocolate is made from cocoa and that the origins of chocolate can be traced back to Central and South America. For centuries, the natives there regarded cocoa as a gift from the gods. But how did chocolate go from being the food of the gods to being the food of love?
Around A.D. 600, the Mayas were the main aboriginal group in Central America. They established the first cocoa plantations and used the cocoa bean as the main ingredient in a dark, bitter drink that we would call “chocolate.” The Mayas believed that chocolate had mystical properties---but cocoa also had commercial value. In fact, cocoa beans were used as a form of currency that was worth its weight in gold!
Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez was the first European explorer to realize cocoa's commercial possibilities. When he arrived in the New World in 1519, he soon established his own cocoa plantation. In 1529, Cortez returned to Spain and introduced chocolate---as a drink mixed with sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon---to European society.
It caught on---especially with the nobility, who fancied hot chocolate as an aphrodisiac. As its popularity spread, people found new ways to make and use chocolate. These days, chocolate is enjoyed as both a tasty treat and a romantic indulgence. Whether it is in delectable desserts or crunchy candy, people the world over are still in love with chocolate.
American-made chocolate and cocoa(可可) products number in the hundreds. There is a fascinating(迷人的)story behind these wonderful products.Chocolate Through the YearsThe story of chocolate, as far back as we know it, begins with the discovery of America. Until 1492, the Old World(指欧洲大陆，相对于美洲大陆)knew nothing at all about the delicious and stimulating flavor富有刺激性的口味) that was to become the favorite of millions.The Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella got its first look at the principal ingredient(调料、原料)of chocolate when Columbus returned in triumph from America and laid before the Spanish throne(王位)a treasure trove of many strange and wonderful things. Among these were a few dark brown beans(豆)that looked like almonds(杏仁)and seemed most unpromising(无指望的). They were cocoa beans, today's source of all our chocolate and cocoa.The King and Queen never dreamed how important cocoa beans could be, and it remained for Hernando Cortez(科尔特斯), the great Spanish explorer, to grasp(把握住)the commercial possibilities of the New World offerings.Food of the GodsDuring his conquest of Mexico, Cortez found the Aztec Indians(阿兹特克印第安人)using cocoa beans in the preparation of
the royal drink of the realm, "chocolate," meaning warm liquid. In 1519, Emperor Montezuma, who reportedly drank 50 or more portions daily, served(提供，招待) chocolate to his Spanish guests in great golden goblets(高脚杯), treating it like a food for the gods.For all its regal(王室的) importance, however, Montezuma's chocolate was very bitter(苦), and the Spaniards did not find it to their taste. To make the concoction(调制品) more agreeable to Europeans, Cortez and his countrymen conceived the idea of sweetening it with cane sugar.The new drink quickly won friends, especially among the Spanish aristocracy(贵族). Spain wisely proceeded to plant cacao in its overseas colonies, which gave birth to a very profitable(利润高的) business. Remarkably enough, the Spanish succeeded in keeping the art of the cocoa industry a secret from the rest of Europe for nearly a hundred years.Chocolate Spreads to EuropeSpanish monks, who had been consigned(托运) to process the cocoa beans, finally let the secret out. It did not take long before chocolate was acclaimed(受到欢迎) throughout Europe as a delicious, health-giving food. For a while it reigned(主宰)as the drink at the fashionable Court of France. Chocolate drinking spread across the Channel to Great Britain, and in 1657 the first of many famous English Chocolate Houses(作坊)appeared.The 19th Century marked two more revolutionary developments in the history of chocolate. In 1847, an English company introduced solid "eating chocolate" through the development of fondant(半软糖) chocolate, a smooth and velvety(光滑柔和)variety that has almost completely replaced the old coarse grained(颗粒粗糙的) chocolate which formerly dominated(统领) the world market. The second development occurred in 1876 in Vevey, Switzerland, when Daniel Peter devised a way of adding milk to the chocolate, creating the product we enjoy today known as milk chocolate.Chocolate Comes to AmericaIn the United States of America, the production of chocolate proceeded at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world. It was in pre-Revolutionary New England-1765, to be exact-that(可以肯定地说)the first chocolate factory was established in this country.During World War II, the U.S. government recognized chocolate's role in the nourishment(营养品)and group spirit(士气、团队精神) of the Allied Armed Forces, so much so that(到这样的程度以至于)it allocated valuable shipping space(分配宝贵的船舱空间)for the importation(运输) of cocoa beans. Many soldiers were thankful for the pocket chocolate bars(块、条) which gave them the strength to carry on until more food rations(配给)could be obtained. Today, the U.S. Army D-rations(美国陆军D类配给食品) include three 4-ounce chocolate bars(4盎司巧克力块)late has even been taken into space as part of the diet(食品供应、食谱)astronauts(宇航员).