The History of Chocolate: Part 2


French book from 1685 on the health benefits of coffee, tea, and chocolate
French book from 1685 on the health benefits of coffee, tea, and chocolate


Welcome to Delysia’s series, The History of Chocolate: Part 2. If you need a refresher, click here for The History of Chocolate: Part 1.

Europeans didn’t become aware of the existence of chocolate until Montezuma introduced it to the Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes in the 16th century. Montezuma had a custom of drinking chocolate after every meal. Soon after, the first shipments began arriving in Spain. It was used as a beverage but the Europeans still deemed it too bitter. They added sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon while leaving out the chili peppers.

Chocolate quickly became the most popular drink in Europe. Demand was high, despite the fact that only the aristocratic class could afford it. Spanish armies enslaved the natives in America to harvest cacao more quickly. In 1615, chocolate’s popularity increased in Europe when Princess Anne of Austria – daughter of Spain’s King Phillip III – introduced chocolate drinks to her new husband, King Louis XIII of France and the rest of the French court. Almost 30 years later, Maria Theresa of Spain gave her fiancé, Louis XIV of France, an extravagant trunk filled with chocolate.

In 1657, the first chocolate house opened in London. Its appearance in cakes and rolls started not long after that. In 1689, noted physician and collector Hans Sloane developed a milk chocolate drink in Jamaica which was initially used by apothecaries for its alleged healing properties.

The chocolate-making process remained relatively unchanged until the Industrial Revolution {1760-1840}. The mechanization of mills made it easier to extract cocoa butter to create solid chocolate, which began at the end of the 18th century in Turin, Italy. Soon after, factories were appearing throughout Europe and the United States. Various improvements were made to the production of chocolate, including the Dutch patenting a method of extracting fat from cocoa beans and making powdered cocoa. This led to the creation of the first-known chocolate bar in Germany in 1839 with cocoa, sugar, and goat’s milk. In England, a paste was made that could be molded by mixing more of the cocoa butter after using the Dutch method. This led to the creation of the first British chocolate bars by the Cadbury Bros in 1849.

In 1867, a Swiss candle-maker named Daniel Peter began experimenting with milk which led to the first creation of milk chocolate in 1875. He was assisted by his neighbor, baby-food maker Henri Nestlé. Rodolphe Lindt invented the process called conching, which involved heating and grinding the chocolate solids very finely to ensure that the liquid is evenly blended. This enabled Milton Hershey to make chocolate even more popular by mass-producing affordable chocolate bars.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of our History of Chocolate series where we cover the rise of Hershey in America and how small artisan chocolatiers, like Delysia Chocolatier, use traditional methods to make the finest-quality chocolate products.


Nicole Patel

Nicole Patel is the proprietor of and chocolatier for Delysia Chocolatier. In 2006 while pregnant with her first son, Nicole made a batch of chocolate truffles as holiday gifts. To the delight of friends and family, she continued to create chocolates as a way to relieve stress from her corporate engineering job. In 2008, a chance trip to Becker Vineyards led to Nicole being the first in Texas to make truffles using local wines. Within five years, what started as a hobby turned Delysia into one of the Top Ten Chocolatiers in the Americas, as selected by the International Chocolate Salon.