One of my favorite foods is Chocolate. Please notice that I capitalized the word, Chocolate. I know that I am not alone. If I buy some and leave it on the kitchen counter or on a table, it will not last long. And I am sure that I am not alone. Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.27.58 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.33.02 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.30.46 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.30.15 PM

One of the things I love about living in France is that during the Christmas Season people buy boxes of chocolate and give them as gifts.Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 3.23.36 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-31 at 3.23.20 PM

I complain that I don’t want it in my home because I know who will eat it. ME! But it is the perfect excuse to treat myself. (Don’t those candies look yummy?)

Chocolate as we know it, in candy form is not all that old. Yet cacao is very old. It is possible that the first people to use chocolate were the Olmec people who lived in southeast Mexico. They lived there as early as 1000 BC and were the first important civilization to live in Mexico. Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.39.13 PMThey were followed by the Maya and the Aztecs. The Olmec enjoyed chocolate as a drink as early as 1900BCE. The Aztecs used the cacao beans as money.   Someone even made counterfeit cacao beans

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Chocolate is made from the beans of the Theobroma cacao tree, which comes from Central and South America. Since this was a very expensive product, it was mostly consumed by the upper classes after meals, as we would drink coffee. In the Maya culture, chocolate was used in religion and they even had a cacao god. The people who drank chocolate were from the upper class and this remained true even after the Spanish brought chocolate back to Europe. The drink was a favorite in Louis XIV’s court.

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In 1519, Cortez and his soldiers tried the Aztec’s chocolate drink when they conquered them, but they hated it. Guess what was missing…. SUGAR!

This problem was solved when they conquered the people on the Caribbean islands who grew sugar.

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When the Spanish brought chocolate back to Europe, they used it as a drink and also as medicine.  The Catholic Church stated that it was the only food that could be eaten while fasting.Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.41.00 PM

I am shocked that no one has come up with the Chocolate Diet. There are no books yet written. Come on people – who is going to be the first? You know it will be a best seller!!!

Lets skip forward the 1850’s. It was Mr. Joseph Fry who changed the way we eat chocolate when he discovered that by adding cocoa butter to cocoa, instead of water, you would get a solid piece of chocolate. Yum. Then in 1875, Henri Nestle and Dan Peter added milk and milk chocolate was invented. In 1879, Rudolphe Lindt invented a machine that rotated and mixed chocolate to a smooth consistency.Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.34.56 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.37.36 PM

Did you receive any chocolates over the holidays?  Did you make a chocolate desert for Christmas or New Years?

The Holidays are over and I think it is time to loose a few pounds. (I blame the chocolate.) So I will be starting my chocolate diet. I wish all of you a Happy New Years.

All of the photos on today’s blog come from Pinterest. The information about chocolate also comes from information written by Mark Cartwright from the internet.(Mark holds an M.A. in Greek philosophy and his special interests include the Minoans, the ancient Americas, and world mythology. He loves visiting and reading about historic sites and transforming that experience into free articles accessible to all.)Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 3.34.07 PM

The Cake photo comes from:10 Scrumptious Desserts – Ideas for your Christmas Party – Eatwell 101www.eatwell101.com