History of Chocolate
The multiplicity of the world, where we live and plentifulness of original goods inspire a human being for the continuous researches and the new discoveries. Now and again these bounties of the nature has been discovered and developed by the human beings.
The history of the chocolate, which is the most beautiful bounty of the nature throw back to the ancient times.
The Olmec Indians are believed to be the first to produce and introduce the chocolate lived in America at the coast of the Gulf of Mexico 1500 years BC. The word “cacao” is guessed to be pronounced as “cacawa” initially and has appeared in Olmecs’ culture. But the history of chocolate is associated with the names of the Maya who migrated into Chiapas in Mexico and Guatemala 1000 years BC. The Maya started to cultivate the tree named “cacao” and after some time cacao became the integral part of their life. The influence of cacao to the Mayan life came to such level, that the Cacao God was included to the Mayan religious beliefs and was worshipped it by them. Therewith the development of the Mayan civilization came up to the classic phase. This process took place approximately 250 years BC. This period is characterized by the cultural and economic development. 600 years BC the Maya laid down the foundation of their economics development, having cultivated the big plantations of cacao trees.
Henceforward the Maya had beautiful mansions, great fortresses, magnificent palaces and giant cities. This development influenced positively to their living standards. They often gave the entertainments and entertained their guests with chocolate drink as the tastiest and sacred food. The Maya cooked the chocolate drinks, adding different spices and ingredients by the different ways. This fact speaks about the extent up which the Mayan culture had developed. But the Mayan civilization fell to decay after IX century. This time the Toltec took the initiative in 1000 years AD. But the Toltec civilization lived a short while and the internal dissensions put the end to their culture in XII century. In XII century the Aztecs’ civilization took the leading role, but it was destructed by the Spaniards as soon as they seized the Aztecs’ lands in 1521. But prior to it the Aztecs contributed to spread chocolate drink in the world. In ancient Aztec legends was said that cacao has been sent to us from paradise, that the cacao tree gave the manliness and power. Cacao played an important role in the Astecs’ civilization. Cacao beans were used for currency in the Aztec Empire. The cacao beans have been even specially guarding in the Aztec emperor’s storehouses. 4000 sacks were stored in these storehouses every year.
The first European who has tasted a chocolate was Christopher Columbus. It happened in 1502 when the inhabitants of the Island Guiana met their dear guest with great festive. The inhabitants have entertained Columbus with the drink made out of cacao. Christopher Columbus has brought the cacao beans to the Europe - to King Ferdinand upon his fourth trip to the New World. But nobody paid attention to the cacao beans among the other valuable things. It was due to the lack of knowledge about the cacao plant. Only in 100 years after Columbus, the chocolate had started to spread in Europe. The cacao beans cost 10-15 shilling per one pound.
Because of being such expensive the cacao was considered to be a beverage for elite class. Spanish historian Oviedo was writing in XVI century: “Only rich and noble people could have chocolate drink, because drinking the chocolate was equal to drinking money”.
All countries were already using the cacao beans as a currency. That time one good slave could be bought for 100 cacao seeds. Chocolate became famous in the course of time and as a result some other products were added in it. Milk, specific products, different sweet products, beverage and even beer were added in chocolate. If chocolate considered to be men’s drink before, in a short run it became an attractive drink for children. In 1674 the chocolate was added to different sweets. At that time the chocolate was called “eating” because the chocolate could not be a beverage only, but eating as well. The Italians was first to be licensed for chocolate manufacturing. As distinct to from Mexico sugar and vanilla was added to the chocolate in Europe. The first solid chocolate bars were manufactured in XIX century, and Jean Neuhaus is the originator of filled sweets.
Owing to the dynamic development of the industry in XVII century the chocolate products boomed in Azerbaijan as well as in other countries. But due to the lack of the local manufacturer and the importing chocolate came at a high cost, the chocolate was not imported to the country or was brought by rich people who traveled abroad. Due to these circumstances these delicacies were unavailable to the Azerbaijan customers for a long time and this situation stayed unchanged while Azerbaijan was in the USSR. Later, the close relationships with Russia and other republics of Soviet Union, the extension of economical exchanges, the facilitation of the visits procedure conduced the spreading of the chocolate products in Azerbaijan. But it didn’t mean that the chocolate became available to each customer. The chocolate products as other products were under the governmental jurisdiction, because in the USSR the economics was controlled by the administrative-command system. Actually, the motivation to spread the chocolate products as well as other products was missing.
The consumption of the chocolate products was growing steadily in the second half of XX century in Azerbaijan. At long last the manufacturing of the chocolate products was commenced in Azerbaijan. Then every Azerbaijanian got the possibility to taste the chocolate. For a short period of time the chocolate became the popular sweets of all Azerbaijan families. In the short run the chocolate products appeared everywhere, at tea parties, weddings, feasts.
Soon the chocolate products produced in Azerbaijan, which was famous due its quality and taste became popular in the Soviet Union. But the Soviet Union collapse and establishing the independency in Azerbaijan brought to stagnation in the economy, as well as in the chocolate production industry. It resulted in a wide spreading of imported chocolate products in Azerbaijan. Due to the lack of the local producer the chocolate traders got the possibility to sale the chocolate products at price, which they wish. The customers had to buy this product without any supporting information concerning the factors of production, product safety, hygienic requirements and others. Every Azerbaijanian who was thinking about health, future and family budget was worrying by such state of things. It is required a certain time to transition from the administrative-command economy to a market one.
This transition time was reduced due to carrying out the economic reforms in the country, creating the advantageous conditions for the local and foreign investors.
At present all fields of the Azerbaijan economy are developing rapidly. This stipulated the development of the chocolate manufacturing, which has the historical roots in Azerbaijan. “Ulduz” chocolate factory has taken the responsibility for the chocolate production since 2001 and now is making all the best in order to continue this historical tradition.
At present, in XXI century everyone has the opportunity to value the flavour and the taste of this divine delight. Today everyone in the world knows chocolate. The word “Chocolate” could be understood in any language of the world. The Azerbaijan customer also deserves to eat this divine delicious of the best quality.