Chocolate, Food Of the Gods

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CHOCOLATE

Cacao, called The Food Of The Gods, is Theobroma cacao in Latin.

The cacao plant is actually a small evergreen tree that grows natively on the low eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in South America.

Cacao is the only natural source of cocoa and, therefore, of chocolate. Carib is a natural substitute that tastes similar. Many people say they get a "rush" of positive feelings from consuming the confection.

Cacao grows in shady locations in very low elevations between 20 Degrees North and South Latitudes, a span of 40 degrees wide around the Equator.

The average temperature is about 70 degrees F throughout this region overall, considering cooler temperatures in mountainous regions. The cacao plants requires at least three to nine feet of rain every year. Cacao is also cultivated through adequate irrigation systems in the absence of enough rainfall.

Theobroma is the Greek word literally for the food of the gods. Theobroma is a psychoactive drug and if taken in very large amounts can cause hallucinations, irritability, and headaches. Taken during pregnancy, it can cause low birth weight babies with all the complications that thos infants and moms endure, including underdeveloped lungs.

The vulgate names of cacao in everyday local languages are derived from original Aztec and Mayan languages indigenous to the cacao region in South America.

Western Hemisphere Areas

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Growing Cacao

Cocao/Cacao trees grow in tropical regions and this includes the land masses of Africa, Asia, South America and Central America. Within that parameter, the plants grows only between 15 or 20 degrees North and South of the Equator. However, they do best in the shade!

Cacao in the Americas

A markerOrigin of Cacao - Amazon River Basin -
Amazon Basin
[get directions]

Chocolate: Food of the Gods

Chocolate: Food of the Gods
Chocolate: Food of the Gods

From the cocoa beans of the Aztecs to the production in Britain of the first chocolate bars by Quakers, and more.

 
Cacao fruits.
Cacao fruits. | Source

The Gift From Heaven

Aztecs pronounced cacao to be their people's rightful gift from their god of the air above their heads (heaven), Quetzalcoatl.

The Aztecs pounded cacao seeds into a drink and added annato, maize (corn or zea) and vanilla or a mole sauce that contained maize and hot chili peppers. Maize-based drinks are still popular in the region. The drink was used during religious ceremonies and was said to bring on visions, depending how strong the drink was made.

On Christopher Columbus made his fourth voyage to the New World and found a canoe at sea with a cargo of cacao beans, but did not understand what it was. Later, Cortez took cacao seeds to Spain with him and showed the royal court and other wealthy people how to make a cocoa drink by mixing the bitter cacao powder with ground corn, vanilla, and sugar. Not much sugar was consumed in Spain before this, but cocoa spurred its heightened use. Spaniards next took cacao to Trinidad and Venezuela and spread its growth and usage, turning it into a business.

Cadbury's and Baker's Chocolate

Cacao found its way to West Africa, then to Portugal about 1879. A Mr. Cadbury (of chocolate candy fame) was a Quaker who aided the Portuguese in their cacao trade. Note that the Quakers in Britain were the first people to make and sell chocolate bars commercially.

The many seed pods on each cacao evergreen hold 20-50 beans or seeds and the pod growth and matures over a four-month period. The seeds are broken out of a ripe pod and fermented for about a week in a sweatbox, turning from a cream white to a purple-brown. Next, the cacao beans are dried, then stored or shipped abroad from Africa and South America.

To make cocoa powder, the seeds are powdered and the fatty part, cocoa butter, is removed; however, cocoa butter is added back in to make chocolate. Sugar and vanilla moderate the bitter taste of the alkaloids, caffeine, and theobromine of cacao. Half of each seed is cocoa butter and white chocolate is really cocoa butter (fat), vanilla and sugar.

From the Colonies to Hersey, Pennsylvania

Massachusetts Colony.

Dr. Jim Baker bought an Early American chocolate factory from an Irishman who learned chocolate making in Britain. Baker bought the company in 1780 after the Revolutionary War and began producing the still popular Bakers Chocolate. It is still used for baking and eating.

Later, Milton Hershey began making candy after he discovered that the Swiss were mixing condensed milk with chocolate to make milk chocolate. This was after the Civil War and Hershey began his milk chocolate business in Pennsylvania.

Hershey purchased a German chocolate machine at the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition and The Hershey Chocolate Company began making chocolate covered caramels and milk chocolate candy bars when it opened in1894.

Milk chocolate sold so fast and so much that in 1905, a separate facility opened just to produce it. Now, the company also sell Cadbury Bars, among other confections.

It may be a luxury to some and a food for some gods, but chocolate can adversely affect the health of other people and affect still others as a drug. So, choose judicially and have a good chocolate attack!

Baker's Chocolate

Walter Baker's Chocolate Exhibit Cocoa educational kit in a wood box.
Walter Baker's Chocolate Exhibit Cocoa educational kit in a wood box. | Source

An Irish Chocolate Factory in Boston in 1764

Many people feel that Mexican and European chocolates are better than American chocolate, but an Irishman began a chocolate factory in Massachusetts. In fact, Baker Chocolate was represented at the 1904 World's Fair, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri.

The debut of many food inventions are attributed to the 1904 fair, including hot dogs, waffle cones and others, but Baker Chocolate was already a high quality product since 1780.

New Nation Period announcements touted Baker Chocolate as setting the chocolate standard worldwide, including Europe. On the second floor of the 1904 exhibit, Baker's cocoa and vanilla chocolate drinks were served.

As the often told story goes, chocolate had not yet been made in the 13 Colonies in 1764. Irish chocolate maker John Hannon met Dr. James Baker in Dorchester and began talking about chocolate and cacao beans.

Baker became the financial partner in the future "Hannon’s Best Chocolate” until 1779, when Hannon disappeared.

The Hannon factories became Baker Chocolate Company in 1780. and by 1949, the founding Baker's grandson Walter Baker took his products to the California Gold Rush.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, the chocolate company has been owned by Forbes Syndicate, Postum Cereals, General Foods, and Kraft Foods. It produces nearly a dozen different products today.

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Baker's Chocolate Factory, Dorchester, Boston

A markerBaker's Chocolate Factory -
1200 Adams St, Dorchester Ctr, MA 02124, USA
[get directions]

Baker's Chocolate Factory

Historic Bakers Chocolate Factory Sites in Dorchester, Massachusetts: www.bakerchocolatefactory-apts.com/

  • Formerly the headquarters for the world famous Baker's Chocolate in Massachusetts, the three renovated mill buildings now make up the Baker Chocolate Factory Apartments with sustainable features. Following a complete renovation, the late 1800's factory became a community residential complex of 133 separate apartment dwelling with various floor plans. The buildings include studio apartments, one-bedroom flats, two-bedroom flats, and even lofts.
  • Other amenities: two cobblestone courtyards, a picnic area, and open meeting spaces overlooking the local river. Inside are a set of zen garden entries and a 24-hour fitness center with TVs at exercise stations. A hike/bike trail and a riverwalk are nearby.

Baker Brownies

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of One-Bowl Brownies

The Original One-Bowl Brownies, No Microwave

Ingredients:

  • 4 squares (4 oz.) of Baker's baking chocolate
  • 1.5 sticks butter (3/4 C)
  • 2 C white sugar
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 C chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Preparation:

  • Grease a 13x9 metal pan with butter and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cream together butter and sugar well in a large bowl; chop or grate chocolate and mix in thoroughly.
  • Beat in the eggs, flour, and nuts.
  • Add vanilla and mix well.
  • Pour in pan and bake 30 - 35 minutes, until knife inserted into the center comes out with crumbly crumbs.
  • Cool and enjoy.

Apartments at the Chocolate Factory Site, Neponset River

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Baker Chocolate Factory Apartments

A markerBaker Chocolate Factory Apartments 1220 Adams St., Dorchester, MA 02124 -
1220 Adams Street, Boston, MA 02124, USA
[get directions]

More Chocolate: Japanese Spas - Chocolate, Wine, Coffee Baths

© 2008 Patty Inglish

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Comments 17 comments

quotations profile image

quotations 8 years ago from Canada

Thanks for the fascinating info about chocolate. I had no idea that the scientific name was Food of the Gods.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Really cool stuff Patty - who can resist chocolate? I love all the detailed information, historical facts and videos.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Haha, I can resist chocolate, because it makes me feel bad when I eat it. Once or twice a year os ok for me. :)

Thanks for the comments, quotations and steph.


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

I love chocolate, actually makes me feel happy, but try no to overdo it by purchasing just enough chocolates, or else my body rejects it.

Thanks for sharing all these tidbits about chocolate, didn't know. There is always something new to learn.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Hi Violet Sun, thanks for visiting. I like German chocolate cake about twice a year, sometimes some M & M's. No happy feeling though, no nothing but sick stomach. lol


manoharv2001 profile image

manoharv2001 8 years ago from Bangalore - 560097, Karnataka, India

Good post.The Brain—is wider than the Sky—For—put them side by side—The one the other will containWith ease—and You—beside—


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal

What!?? Well never mind!

Great hub, it made me drool :)´´

I think I´m going to grab some black chocolate right now (it´s my favorite one).


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

manohar2001 - I get this poem very well. Thanks for that! The brain as wide as the sky - mind expansion. I think the Aztecs had a little chocolate help!

funride - glad you liked this Hub!


Amery 8 years ago

Thank you for this wonderful hub. Chocolate certainly deserves that name, in my opinion. Food of the Gods, indeed.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Yes, I think it is that for many people!


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France

I am in for the chocolate bath... what a treat!


ebc profile image

ebc 8 years ago

Great Hub! One piece of dark chocolate and I am set.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thaks fo visiting and commenting. Chocolate is a book by itself.


sudamaprasad profile image

sudamaprasad 8 years ago

I with my child love chocolate


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

It must be one of th emost popular food and drink products in the world.


commentonthis7 profile image

commentonthis7 8 years ago

great hub lot of info i also love chocolate


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for the comment. I wonder how many Hubbers love chocolate?

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