The untold story of how the Aztecs invaded Europe… with chocolate

When we think about chocolate, we immediately think about Belgium, Switzerland or the US. These countries have the best chocolate indeed.  Names like Ghirardelli, Hershey, Lindt, Nestle, or Tobler rapidly come to our mind. They were the inventors that created the processes and techniques to produce the delicious chocolate we know today.

However, not too many people know the Chocolate comes originally from Mexico. One hypothesis says that Chocolate comes from the Nahuatl “Xocolatl” that means literally “Sour water”. The Aztecs associated the Xocolatl to a beverage made with cocoa, then the word was adapted from Xocolatl to Chocolate. Back then the cacao was more than a candy, it was even a currency. Hernan Cortes, spaniel conqueror, described the Xocolatl as a powerful beverage that keep him awake without the need of having something in his stomach for long period of time.

It was Cristopher Columbus who took the chocolate to the European royalty in 1504, but we have to keep in mind that even though it was still delicious, it was not the chocolate we find in the supermarket today, therefore it was not really popular.

In 1529 the sugar (and cinnamon or vanilla) was included to the recipe. Then the first chocolate was born (as we know it today).

It was until 1534 when Hernan Cortes introduced the cacao to the spaniel monks. They prepared the first chocolate in Europe successfully; their recipe was the first one that became popular over the continent.

In the XVII century the chocolate was not something you eat for pleasure; believe it or not, it was a medicine. I´d wish my doctor subscribe me one every 8 hours, the best medicine ever.

In 1600 the chocolate invaded Europe. It was everywhere from, Spain to Italy, Germany and UK. From 1606 to 1660 chocolate was transformed from medicine to snack cakes and chocolate bars. The first chocolate makers where founded in Europe in the late XVII century.

During the XIX century all the inventions and innovations around the chocolate took place. This is when Conrad Van Houten invented the hydraulic press, the Italians created the Gianduja marshmallows, Daniel Peter from Switzerland perfected the milk chocolate together with Henri Nestle and together they founded Nestle. Other innovations took place during this period of time.

This was the story of how Aztecs and Mayans conquered the world through their palates.

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