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Not a holiday or celebration but chocolate
is given or bought on these occasions....! :o)

The History Of Chocolate

Cocoa beans were originally brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus and were just one of the many treasures he had collected during his discovery of America. The European's first experience of these almond shaped beans was not one of great enthusiasm and it was not until further explorations of the Americas by the great Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez that their true possibilities were realised.

During his conquest of Mexico, Cortez found the Aztec emperor, Montezuma, to be serving a cocoa based drink to his guests called 'Chocolatl'. Montezuma, who drank 50 or so of the goblets of the drink daily, gave it to Cortez and his fellow explorers as a food for the Gods. Although distinctive, the Spanish guests found this concoction too bitter for their European tastes and came up with the idea of adding sugar to sweeten the taste.

When the explorers returned to Spain, the popularity of the drink soon spread and newly discovered spices such as Vanilla and Cinnamon were also added to enhance the flavour. The 'Chocolatl' soon became a favourite of the aristocracy. It was later discovered that using heated milk added to the pleasure of the drink. The secret of this new and delicious drink remained with the Spaniards for quite a time. It was not until some one hundred years later that the recipe for the drink was revealed by monks employed to process the cocoa beans.

Before long the rest of Europe, and of course these days the world, was able to indulge in what we now commonly call 'Hot Chocolate'.

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Chocolate facts courtesy of one of the Hotel Chocolat newsletters