The History of Chocolate:
The history of chocolate in Europe begins with the discovery of America some 500 years ago. Until then the inhabitants of our continent knew nothing about this fascinating natural and enjoyable product, which was to become the most beloved taste of young and old over the years. The first information we have on the cultivation of cocoa trees is from the time of the Mayan civilization somewhere around 600 AD.
In the Aztec era the species was rare and worth as much as gold. The fruits were usually offered to the gods and kings and were still used as a trading instrument, as money.
But chocolate was not then known in its current form. The Aztecs used cocoa fruits - after first grinding them and making them powder - to prepare a drink called "Choclatl". This drink, along with other spices, made it hot and considered it to be digestive, potent, and the best medicine of its time, which could cure any illness.
The first European considered to have discover and bring cocoa to Europe is Hernando Cortez, who in Easter 1519 sailed with his fleet on the Yucatan Peninsula.
There he was greeted by the Aztec king, Montezuma, who offered him gold, gems, and a basket full of cocoa beans.
On his return to Spain in 1528, Cortez brought with him the first cocoa beans and the necessary tools to prepare the "Choclatl" beverage. This new beverage immediately conquered the Spanish Royal Court and soon gained loyal friends among the Spanish aristocracy. In the following years the beverage became a fashion of the era, which spread slowly throughout Europe.
For the first time solid chocolate was produced by London's traditional coffee shop "The Mill of Coffee", which in 1674 introduced "al Spanish" chocolate bars and a chocolate goody in solid form.