Did someone say chocolate? YES!
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If you are anything like me, you know how it feels to bite into your favorite bar of chocolate and just leave the world behind for a moment. Having a sweet tooth definitely has its perks, am I right? Let’s not get into its drawbacks for the sake of our sanity today!
Did you know that there’s a day, yes, a whole day dedicated to chocolate? Well, I didn’t until I did a little bit of research and found out that the world’s greatest invention (you heard me), is celebrated once a year on July 7th. And how could it not be! I mean, hey, chocolate has been there for us through thick and thin.
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While it is unclear who came up with World Chocolate Day, or simply Chocolate Day, people around the world have taken it upon themselves to recognize the importance of chocolate.
The history of chocolate is quite interesting. The production of chocolate began around 4000 years ago in ancient Mesoamerica, which we nowadays know as Mexico. It is there that the first cacao plants were found. In fact, the Olmec, one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America, were the ones who decided to turn the cacao plant into chocolate. And boy are we oh so grateful!
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Back then however, chocolate was considered to have healing powers. And as such was used during rituals as a form of medicine. Fast forward a few centuries later, the Mayans began roasting and grounding cacao seeds, and mixed them with chilies, water, and cornmeal to create a thick foamy beverage called ‘xocolatl’ - also known as bitter water.
By the 15th century, the Aztecs, seeing as they relied heavily on trade, decided ‘hey, why not simply start using these cocoa beans as currency’. They considered the beans to be a gift from the god Quetzatcoatl, and as such it was an aphrodisiac. It was also used in rituals, and believe it or not, even to prepare for war.
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While there is no clear evidence on how chocolate came to Europe, legend has it that Hernán Cortés, a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire, brought it back to his home country Spain in the early 16th century.
It is believed that Cortés discovered chocolate, by coincidence, during an expedition in search of gold. Yet, instead of actual gold, he was given a cup of cocoa by the Aztec emperor. Gold to my heart, I say!
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Back in Spain, Cortés introduced the cocoa seeds to his circle, though they decided to mix it with sugar and honey to sweeten the naturally bitter taste of the seeds. Et voila! The Spanish kept chocolate a secret for almost a century! And only after that did it reach France, and then the rest of Europe. I mean I don’t blame them. I admit to have hidden bars of chocolate from my hubby! I guess it is just one of those things right?
As the chocolate trend grew, so did the ‘chocolate houses’. In the early 19th century, with the Industrial Revolution just around the corner, the invention of the chocolate press was introduced. This revolutionized the process of chocolate making. The device marked a new era for all sweet lovers, as it was able to squeeze cocoa butter from roasted cacao beams, leaving a fine cocoa powder behind. This powder was then mixed with liquids, poured into a mold, and left to cool down where it solidified into a bar of chocolate. This made it more accessible to the general public who was now able to indulge in the delicacy of the chocolate bar.
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So, as a way to commemorate this wonderful day we have this Chocolate Tray Set, in collaboration with Poly Paige, designed a super cute chocolate filled box. Whether you choose to gift it to someone dear or keep it all to yourself, make sure you enjoy it (guilt free) on July 7th! I know I am…
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