Chocolates, in its most basic form, was first developed by the Maya and the Aztecs. Chocolate lovers will forever be grateful, if not actually worship, the Aztec genius who first crushed fermented cacao seeds, randomly added water and chili to it, and tasted it only to discover he’d struck gold – which is not a stretch seeing that thereafter cocoa beans were used as currency – as he excitedly shared some with his friends.
Chocolate, as we know it, has come a long way since then. And the desire for it has only increased when sugar was added to it, thanks to the Europeans. Most of the cocoa beans are produced in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Cocoa beans, once harvested, are peeled of their outer layer and left to ferment for a week and dried for another week. The shells are then stripped off and the cocoa nibs within are roasted and ground to produce cocoa liquor which is then used to produce cocoa powder, cocoa butter or added in chocolate dough to make chocolate bars.
Chocolate, in the beginning, was a drink which was consumed by dissolving a cake of chocolate powder in hot water or milk. We now have a fancy, creative name for it that Starbucks, Gloria Jean’s or any number of the ubiquitous coffee shops or chocolate lounges will vouch for: hot chocolate. Columbus, you should know, did something even greater than discover America – he transported cocoa beans to America and Spain, from where thanks to Spanish friars introducing it to the Spanish court, it caught on like wildfire. Joseph Fry, God bless his considerate soul, was probably the first one to mix cocoa powder, sugar and cocoa to make a paste that was then molded into what we now call a chocolate bar. He, obviously, went on to become rich and famous. Because chocolates. His factory was also the first to produce Easter eggs.
Today, because we can and because our taste buds, like children, demand novelty every other minute, we add marshmallows, caramel, whipped cream, spices, candy, herbs, honey, liquor, vanilla, nuts, fruits, cookies, cake, eggs – did I leave anything out? – to chocolate. The total consumption of chocolate worldwide is about 7.2 million tons per year and, thankfully, chocolate has numerous health benefits. It is known to reduce risk of stroke, increase blood circulation, reduce cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, enhance mood and energy, aid weight loss, and reduce memory loss among other things.
We, at Insity, provide you an online shopping portal for chocolate, this superfood if we may, in varying shapes, sizes, brands and flavors. Gift yourself (or a friend) a treat to treasure – we are just a click away.