Its origins are lost in time in exotic lands where history and legend are woven together so that they merge into one another, feeding the air of mystery that has accompanied precious chocolate for centuries.
Discovering its origins, history and other curiosities allows us to know and appreciate this precious foodstuff in all its extraordinary forms.
Enjoy your journey into the world of chocolate!
The scientific name for cocoa is Theobroma, which in Greek means “food of the gods”. A delight for the soul and the tastebuds, chocolate has its origins in 600 B.C. in the lands which extended from the Yucatàn peninsula, the Chiapa to the Pacific coast of Guatemala, where the ancient Mayan civilisation started the first cocoa plantations. The name of this noble food comes from xocolat, a very aromatic and bitter drink, prepared with toasted cocoa seed powder, water and spices, to which stimulating and even magical properties were attributed.
For the Mayans, cocoa, besides being a foodstuff, was a very precious item. In fact, cocoa seeds were used as money and they were kept in strongboxes alongside gold and precious items. The culture was spread throughout Central America by the Aztecs, for whom cocoa was a divine gift from the god Quetzalcoatl and could alleviate tiredness and give back strength and energy.
In 1528 the conqueror Cortez, returning from the New World, brought the first cocoa seeds to Spain. Italy was the second European country to discover the exotic drink, to which other ingredients such as paprika and hot spices started to be added, in order to lessen the bitter taste, as well as aniseed, cinnamon and vanilla to sweeten it.
The varieties of chocolate
For its numerous varieties of taste, shapes, accompaniments, chocolate can be adapted for many recipes and numerous occasions. By adding other ingredients to the raw material, different types of chocolate can be made.Bitmap Discovering its origins, history and other curiosities allows us to know and appreciate this precious foodstuff in all its extraordinariness.
The most prized. The percentage of cocoa is one of the main characteristics that determines its quality: the best contain at least 70% cocoa. With its intense cocoa aroma, with spicy notes, and with its shiny appearance, dark chocolate melts in the mouth, leaving a pleasantly biter after taste. Smooth, silky and velvety to the touch
Sweeter than dark, because it contains less cocoa and more sugar. A good milk chocolate should look shiny and have an intense persistent aroma, with notes of vanilla and milk. Its creamy consistency makes it especially favoured by children.
This is a treasure that comes from the clever intuition of chocolatiers in Turin at the beginning of the 1800’s, who substituted a part of the very expensive cocoa with one of the best local products, Langhe hazelnuts. The recipe still today allows for the addition of toasted hazelnuts to the chocolate in amounts varying from a minimum of 20% to up to 40%.
As it does not contain cocoa in its dried form, it is not technically a true chocolate, but rather a delicious blend of cocoa butter, powdered milk and sugar. Its surface is ivory-coloured and it has an intense vanilla aroma. It has a sweet and pleasant taste.