Chocolate 101

Do you have a sweet tooth? Come on in. Welcome to our world of chocolate, where you’ll learn all about where chocolate comes from, how it’s made and what it represents at Easter.

Where does chocolate come from?

We all know the story of the Oompa Loompas, who before being rescued by Mr Willy Wonka, lived in a dangerous native land where they craved the cocoa beans that grow on trees in the rainforest. Many of us imagine the first person to taste chocolate being like them, having stumbled upon this delicious treat. The reality does in fact involve a rainforest but there’s not an Oompa Loompa in sight. It’s said chocolate first appeared in Aztec and Mayan cultures, in the Amazon.

So where do we get our chocolate from today?

Money doesn’t grow on trees. That’s true. But chocolate really does. That’s right, we still get our chocolate the same way the Aztecs did back in the day. The cocoa beans grow on small tropical trees that are referred to as the Theobroma cacao.

How is chocolate made?

Each individual cocoa bean is weighed and sorted into a type. This way it’s easy for the manufacturer to know exactly what type of cocoa is going into the chocolate, which is important because many like to use a combination of different types of carefully measured cocoa to ensure maximum flavour. The beans are roasted at temperatures of around 210-290F, bringing out more flavour and aroma. This dries and darkens them, which is essential before the beans are cracked and crushed. Once this has all been done, the different types are mixed together and textured so that it looks like a chocolate bar you’d recognise.

How did chocolate become associated with Easter?

Chocolate started to become associated with Easter in the early 1800s. Previously, people would create artificial eggs using a number of materials. Symbolising new life and fertility, the eggs were presented by people as gifts, just as you might do now. The only difference is, before the eggs were chocolate, the people would decorate them with colour and patterns, as you might have done at school.

Who doesn’t love chocolate? We certainly do, and not just at Easter but all year through; we just can’t help but indulge in our favourite sweet snacks from time to time. When looking for gifts for your friends and family, why not consider a chocolate hamper from Spicers of Hythe?

What’s your favourite kind of chocolate? Let us know in the comment section below.

 


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