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A Heavenly History of Chocolate

By: Toby Kuhnke, Editor,
A Heavenly History of Chocolate
A Heavenly History of Chocolate
This image courtesy of

It’s time to take a trip through time to explore the Heavenly History of Chocolate. For chocolate fans, these deliciously dark desserts just can’t be beat. Over time, bakers around the world have taken these bitter cacao beans and turned them into the most delectable desserts imaginable.
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine a world of desserts without chocolate, but before the 1500s, chocolate was merely a local specialty in Central and South America. It wasn’t until this point in the 16th Century that Europeans even knew what chocolate was. But it wasn’t long before they took this magical ingredient and ran with it, adding sugar and creating the iconic desserts we know today.
There are chocolate desserts for just about any occasion, but perhaps the best time to eat chocolate is in the colder months. At Christmas time, chocolate fudge, cookies, and cake take the center stage, and Valentine’s Day -- the biggest chocolate day of all -- wouldn’t be complete without a heart-shaped box of chocolates. But really, no matter when or how you eat chocolate, you just can’t go wrong!

Timeline of All Things Chocolate

  1. 1750 BC: Cocoa beans are used by ancient Mesoamerican cultures for medicinal purposes and considered it the food of the gods. The Aztecs believed that chocolate was given to them by the god Quetzacoatl.

  2. 14th Century: The Mayan and Aztec civilizations made cocoa into a drink called xocolatl. As the Aztecs grew in power and influence, they wanted more and more cocoa, but they land they controlled was not suited for growing the plant, so they began to trade resources with the Mayans for cocoa beans.

  3. 15th Century: European explorers came to the Americas, and when they came back they brought cocoa beans with them. Over the next 200 years, this chocolate drink would grow wildly popular.

  4. 1615: King Louis XIII of France marries Anne of Austria, the daughter of King Phillip III of Spain. When Anne moved to France, she brought chocolate with her and spread her love of it to the French aristocracy.

  5. 1828: The cocoa press is invented by Coenraad Johannes van Houten. The cocoa press separates the cocoa beans into its separate parts -- cocoa butter and cocoa cakes.

  6. 1847: Fry & Son produces the first chocolate bar in Bristol, England.

  7. Late 1800s: Around this time, the chocolate craze began. The invention of the cocoa press meant the sky was the limit for chocoholics, and candy makers like Hershey and Cadbury began to experiment with chocolate, creating the iconic chocolate bars we still love today.

  8. 1936: Ruth Graved Wakefield invented chocolate chip cookies in her kitchen at the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. The first recipe for chocolate chip cookies appeared in her cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes.

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