The first people known to have made chocolate were the ancient peoples of Mexico, the Maya and Aztec. They mixed ground cacao seeds with various seasonings to make a spicy, frothy drink.
2,000 years ago the Spanish conquistadors brought the Cacao seeds back to Spain and new recipes were created. The chocolate drink spread throughout Europe.Today, Chocolate drinks and foods are found all over the world.
Chocolate come from the Cacao (kah KOW) tree. The pods are collected and cut open. The seeds are removed and put into pile that contain the seeds of hundreds of pods. They are put under banana leaves and ferment for 5 to 7 days. Then they are dried and roasted.
This is the first of many processes that these seeds go through before they end up in some beverage or confection.
2 years ago a study was done and it was found that there is a specific metabolic signature in 'chocolate lovers'. This metabolic profile involved low levels of LDL-cholesterol the so-called 'bad' cholesterol and marginally elevated levels of albumin, a beneficial protein.
It would seem from this study that chocolate lovers love chocolate because it helps to keep their body chemistry balanced.
There is a down side to chocolate. To ingest chocolate on an empty stomach creates a rush form the caffeine and sugar that has a hard crash. One has teased the body with something that does not provide the nourishment the body is needing.
Part 2 Preview: My relationship with Chocolate