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Cocoa General Information Site - History

Key Dates

(France, 1776) Doret invents a hydraulic process to grind cocoa beans into a paste, facilitating the first large-scale production of chocolate.

(Holland, 1828) Chemist Coenraad van Houten invents a process for extracting cocoa butter, allowing for the extraction of cocoa powder. This makes chocolate more homogenous and less costly to produce.

(England, 1847) Solid chocolate is offered to the general public for the first time, by the English company Fry and Sons (prior to this time, solid chocolate was available exclusively within royal courts).

(Switzerland, 1830-1879) Chocolate flavored with hazelnuts is followed by milk chocolate, developed by Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé respectively. During the same period, Rodolphe Lindt develops the chocolate fondant (fondu).

(United States, 1893) Sweet maker Milton Hershey spots chocolate making equipment at the Worlds Fair in Chicago and begins production at a factory in Pennsylvania.

Cocoa Historical Facts

> Archaeologists have excavated spouted pots from the Maya ruins of Colha, Belize, that contained chocolate residue dating to circa 600 B.C.

> The first chocolate house for the United States was established in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

> Christopher Columbus, in 1502, was thought to have brought cocoa beans to King Ferdinand, during his fourth trip from the New World.

> Cocoa was exported to Europe in 1585 but the first chocolate bar was not made until 1848.

> To the Aztec’s, Xocolatl was much more valuable than gold or silver. When Montezuma was defeated by Cortez in 1519, the conquistadors searched his palace and found huge quantities of cocoa beans instead of gold, silver, or precious metals.

> In 1875, Swiss Daniel Peter discovered a way of mixing condensed milk, manufactured by his friend Henri Nestlé, with chocolate to create the first milk chocolate.

> Ninety percent of modern cacao is made from a type of cacao called forastero (foreigner). However, before the 1800s, cacao was made from a type of bean called criollo.


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