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Food of the Gods: Chocolate Facts and Recipe

Patty collects recipes and gadgets from the past and is particularly interested in early American history and all Indigenous Peoples.

food-of-the-gods

Cacao and Choolate

Cacao, also called the Food of the Gods, is Theobroma cacao in Latin.

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

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

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

Equatorial Cacao Areas

Equatorial Cacao Areas

Growing Cacao

The plant is actually a small evergreen tree that grows natively on the low eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in South America and in tropical regions, including the land masses of Africa, Asia, and Central America. It grows best in shady locations in very low elevations between 20 Degrees North and 20 Degrees South Latitudes, a span of 40 degrees wide around the equator.

The average temperature is about 70° F throughout the cacao growing region, considering the cooler temperatures in mountainous regions as well as daily heat. The cacao plants require at least three to nine feet of rain every year but also are cultivated through adequate irrigation systems when needed.

Theobroma is the Greek word for "the food of the gods."

Cacao pods are processed for the beans for chocolate.

Cacao pods are processed for the beans for chocolate.

The Gift From Heaven

Aztecs declared 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 annatto, 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.

As Christopher Columbus made his fourth voyage to the New World and found a canoe at sea with a cargo of cacao beans, he did not understand what it was.

Later, Cortez took cacao seeds to Spain 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 that quickly spread.

Today, America has a number of "chocolate spas"!

Aptly nicknamed the “Chocolate Spa,” The Spa at The Hotel Hershey is a three-story, European-style spa renowned for its wide range of sweet treatments, with everything from chocolate massages to cocoa body wraps, facials, manicures, pedicures, scrubs, polishes and hydrotherapy, all with a chocolate twist.

— Epicureandculture.com/worlds-indulgent-chocolate-spas/

Cadbury's and Baker's Chocolates

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 sweat box, 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.

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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!

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 is 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.

food-of-the-gods

Baker's Chocolate Factory

Historic Bakers Chocolate Factory Sites in Dorchester/Boston, Massachusetts:

  • 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 Chocolate Factory Apartments

Apartments at the Chocolate Factory Site, Neponset River

food-of-the-gods

Recipe: The Original One-Bowl Brownies

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)

Instructions

  • 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.

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS

Comments

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 04, 2008:

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

commentonthis7 on March 04, 2008:

great hub lot of info i also love chocolate

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 04, 2008:

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

sudamaprasad on March 04, 2008:

I with my child love chocolate

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 04, 2008:

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

ebc on March 03, 2008:

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

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on March 03, 2008:

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

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 03, 2008:

Yes, I think it is that for many people!

Amery on March 03, 2008:

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

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 03, 2008:

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!

Ricardo Nunes from Portugal on March 03, 2008:

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).

Manoharan from Bangalore - 560097, Karnataka, India on March 03, 2008:

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—

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 02, 2008:

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

VioletSun from Oregon/ Name: Marie on March 02, 2008:

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 (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 02, 2008:

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.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on March 02, 2008:

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

Robert P from Canada on March 02, 2008:

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

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