The origins of chocolate began in Mesoamerica (present day Mexico) as early as 1900BC.
The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds (from which chocolate is made) were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom.
The Olmec were the first people to turn the cacao plant into chocolate, and so could be credited as the creators of the first chocolate in the world. In its original form, chocolate was drank- cacao seeds would be ground and served as a bitter liquid, mixed with spices or corn purée, drank during rituals or served as medicine – yum!
Mesoamericans even used cacao beans as currency, and considered them more valuable than gold!
Then came chocolate as we know it…
During the 16th century, Spanish explorer, Hernán Cortés, travelled to South America to establish Spanish colonies. He brought the cacao drink, known as xocolatl, back to Spain, where people began to sweeten it with sugar or honey, and it became a big hit.
Then in 1828, Coenraad van Houten from Amsterdam invented the cocoa press, which could separate the fat from a cacao bean, leaving behind a fine powder. This was tastier to enjoy as a drink, and people started adding milk to it instead of water, making it more like the hot chocolate we’d drink today.
In 1847, British chocolatier, JS Fry, had the idea of recombining the fat and liquor and adding sugar. He set this mixture in moulds and the chocolate bar was born.
Now a familiar chocolate name…
Swiss chocolatiers were the first to add milk to the concoction; producing milk chocolate. But in 1904, George Cadbury Junior beat competition by developing a chocolate with more milk than anything else on the market.
After various suggestions, they settled on the name Dairy Milk. It was initially sold in large blocks, which could be cut down and sold as penny bars, then later it was wrapped and became that Dairy Milk that we know (and love!) today.
Or sample some other chocolatey recipes from below:
Head of Dairy Diary; I’m passionate about producing high quality products that our customers will cherish. I’m also a mum of three and I enjoy cooking, walking, gardening and art with my family, as well as lino printing (if I find time!)