Various visions of delicious chocolate comes to mind. Visions of chocolate bars with nuts or perhaps white coated chocolate with sprinkles. One thing is for certain: these visions make your mouth water. Very few are knowledgeable of the fact that the story of chocolate started at least three thousand years ago, enjoyed as a beverage by the elite.
Three thousand years ago the Olmec lived in Mexico. They were the first to cultivate and use cocoa, and were presumably the first to produce cocoa and chocolate. However, early reports show that it was the Maya who first used the plant.
The Maya experimented with different recipes, blending spices such as chilli into the drink or enjoying it as mash. Back then, chocolate had a similar significance as champagne today and as such, was only enjoyed by the elite. The cacao bean was also used as a form a payment, which is another example of the value it possessed.
The Aztecs went as far to conquer an area that was known for its excellent cocoa. When the Spanish conquered the Aztec empire in 1521, it initially found chocolate to be repulsive. They sweetened the bitter beverage with sugar, heated it and referred to it as "chocolate".
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the sweet chocolate beverage spread from Spain throughout Europe. The first chocolate factory was established during 1728 in England. At the time, chocolate was produced by hand. The era of modern chocolate production began in 1828 when cocoa powder was produced using a hydraulic press.
The industrial revolution and the invention of the chocolate bar saw it becoming a good for everyone. In 1870 Switzerland invented milk chocolate, the most successful type of chocolate in the world. With the rise in consumption and increasing production, the price of chocolate consistently decreased during the 20th century.
Today, high-quality chocolate is becoming trend again. Consumer are willing to pay more for high-quality chocolate. In addition, many chocolate manufacturers are returning to handmade production, with an increased focus on regional ingredients.
In recent years, Austria has developed a chocolate "culture" it can be proud of. Why not take a look for yourself and indulge in something delicious!