Chocolate In Different Countries
Well known for being the origin of chocolate, Mexico is probably the first place on earth where chocolate was introduced. Chocolate has played an important role in Mexican communities for almost five hundred years and it looks as if this strong relationship will never end. Chocolate was first discovered in Mexico in 1519 when Hernán Cortés Pizarro, a Spanish conquistador, was granted an audience with Moctezuma, Emperor of Mexico, at his breakfast table. Impressed by the amazing drink, “chocolatl”, which was made from cocoa beans, Hernán Cortés Pizarro brought cocoa trees and the chocolatl’s recipe back to Spain and began to introduce this drink all across the European continent.
Today, chocolate remains a highly valued commodity like in pre-Hispanic Mexico. This sweet substance is an important staple for Mexican people which bring millions of dollars to the country every year. In Mexico, chocolate is popularly used to make a wide array of Mexican confections such as a hot chocolate drink. For Mexican people, hot chocolate is considered as the national drink which almost everyone in the country drinks every day. Additionally, pepper and spices are also served with hot chocolate.
Although Christopher Columbus was the first one from The New World who discovered cacao beans in 1502, but the first man who brought chocolate to Spain and The New World was Hernán Cortés Pizarro who discovered the precious tree in the early 16th century. The Spaniards originally kept the discovery of the cocoa tree as a secret from the rest of Europe for almost a century, and in the meantime, they had added something that the Mayans and Aztecs could not, cane sugar, in order to increase its deliciousness. In 1631, the first recipe for a chocolate drink was published in Spain by an Andalusian physician, Colmenero de Ledesma, and soon other chocolate recipes were created, this made chocolate become a fashionable drink enjoyed by the rich in Spain.
Nowadays, Chocolate is widely consumed by Spanish people throughout the country. And like Mexican people, Spaniards also prefer hot chocolate drink, but Spaniard’s version of hot chocolate is a good thick and creamy hot chocolate flavored drink with cinnamon and served with churros, unlike Mexican’s version of hot chocolate which is added with pepper and spices. There are many Spanish chocolate manufacturers which produce multi types of chocolate products to serve both Spanish people and consumers in other countries such as Chocolates Valor, Chocovic and much more.
During June 1657, the first recognition of chocolate in England appeared in an advertisement in the Public Advertiser or Adviser, informing the London public that “in Bishopsgate Street, in Queen’s Head Alley, at a Frenchman’s house, is an excellent West India drink called chocolate to be sold, you may have it ready at any time, and also unmade, at reasonable rates.” Since then, the use of cocoa and chocolate became widely recognized in England and numerous chocolate manufacturers were continuously established. However, the price of chocolate at that time was very expensive as it was especially reserved for the rich, and at that time the English chocolate market were still monopolized by Spanish chocolate manufacturers.
Today, multi types of chocolate products are still warmly welcomed by the English people and English chocolate manufacturers have now completely controlled the domestic chocolate market. Chocolate products are strongly required by the consumers, especially in special events and festivals of the year such as New Year Festival, Valentine’s Day, Christmas etc. In England, there are many famous chocolate manufacturers which gained recognition from consumers around the world, such as Cadbury Schweppes, Divine Chocolate, Green & Black’s, Hotel Chocolate, J. S. Fry & Sons, Ltd., Traidcraft, Ummah Foods and many more.
4. United States of America
One of the biggest chocolate distributors of the world, the United States of America have produced numerous chocolate products for many countries around the world, and the American chocolate business has now grown at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world. Beginning in 1765, during the American Revolutionary War, the first chocolate factory was established in America and rapidly followed by many others. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States of America, who became a great lover of hot chocolate, once wrote in a letter to John Adams in 1785, “The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain”. His prediction was absolutely correct because now chocolate is popularly consumed by most Americans, and its demand has grown steadily.
Interestingly, chocolate was also used for some extra purposes in the United States of America. During World War II, the U.S. government produced Military Chocolate for two purposes, firstly as a morale boost for of the Allied Armed Forces, and as a pocket-sized emergency ration. The majority of chocolate that were issued to military personnel was produced by the Hershey Company. Additionally, Chocolate has been taken into space as part of the diet of U.S. astronauts.
France was the second country in Europe where chocolate was introduced. After chocolate was widely accepted in Spain in the sixteenth century, it was transferred to France by merchants who anticipated chocolate to be a big business in the near future. At the beginning, chocolate was greeted with suspicion and skepticism in France, and it was always referred to as a “barbarous product and noxious drug”. Thus, The French court encouraged the Paris Faculty of Medicine to investigate this sweet substance and the faculty issued its approval, this made the wife of Louis XIII, Anne of Austria, to declare chocolate as the drink of the French court. Later in 1660, chocolate was introduced to ordinary people when Maria Theresa of Austria, the wife of Louis XIV, kindly shared her love of chocolate with the people of France.
Today, some hi-grade chocolate products which are sold around the world are produced by French chocolate manufacturers such as Valrhona, Chocolat Bonnat, Jean-Paul Hevin, La Maison du Chocolat, Michel Cluizel, Chocolat Poulain and much more.
Not to mention watches and railways, chocolate is one of the most remarkable symbols of Switzerland. Swiss chocolate was first produced in 1819 by François-Louis Cailler who set up the oldest and biggest brand called Nestle, which has ruled the world market to this day. However, Suchard and Lindt have still maintained their popularity among their loyal customers. Swiss chocolate is internationally recognized for its excellent quality with high contents of superb cocoa butter and high standards of manufacturing.
Chocolate is considered as a way of life in Switzerland. The Swiss unwittingly set a world record of ten and a half kilos of annual chocolate consumption, approximately one bar for every single person every day of the year. Fearless and masculine conscripts in Switzerland have free chocolate which is wrapped in special foil, is simply ordinary to the Swiss, and adults giving each other chocolate as a dinner-party gift is also far from a surprise. Unlike any other countries in the world that feature seasonal fruits, the Swiss are proud of their seasonal chocolate; chocolate chestnuts and chocolate mushrooms in autumn, and chocolate flowers in spring
Since the 18th century, chocolate in Belgium have become very popular and in 1912, chocolate was considered as a gift and a confectionary called ‘Praline’, a chocolate mouthful with a variety of flavored fillings such as nougats or creams, coffee, hazelnut, fruits or even more chocolate, was first created by a local called Jean Neuhaus. Pralines were later patented under the name of ‘Ballotin’ and Ballotin de Pralines became the perfect gift given in all occasions since that time. Belgium is famed for its chocolate to this very day.
Nowadays, Belgian chocolate is considered to be the gourmet standard with the production of 172,000 tons of chocolate per year and more than 2,000 chocolate shops throughout the country such as Brussels’ famed Grand-Place, where every third shop along any street seems to be selling chocolate. Moreover, Belgium features a number of Chocolate museums which are a must-visit site. Superb quality of ingredients and an attachment to the Old World and it’s manufacturing techniques make Belgian chocolate unique as it is made by hand in small shops using original equipment.
In Japan, chocolate becomes a big deal when it’s Valentine’s Day since the day of love is just nothing without this sweet and bitter confectionery. Chocolate strongly influences Japanese people even more than flowers which is relatively common in others countries. Japanese women usually give chocolate, or at times along with other presents, to men while men buy chocolate for women on March 14th which is known as White Day. Chocolate given to men whom women have no crush on is called called “giri (obligation)-choco (chocolate). On the other hand, Honmei-choco, (prospective winner-chocolate) are for a woman’s special person and the price is more expensive than giri-choco.
More than half of the chocolate sold in a year is sold around Valentine’s Day. Popular Japanese chocolate brands are Glico, Meiji, and Morinaga. Their products gorgeously attract customers with their yummy tastes, exquisite and stylish packages.
After chocolate had been brought to Spain from Mexico in the early sixteenth century, this sweet substance started to spread to several nations in Europe including France, Britain, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Holland, and these adaptations had effectively brought an end to Spain’s monopoly of the chocolate trade. The first sacks of cocoa which arrived atthe port of Amsterdam, Holland, were contraband, but later the Dutch saw in the cocoa pods as a means of undermining Charles V’s monopoly, so they started to introduce tons of beans into their own country and elsewhere in Europe. The Dutch established their own cocoa plantations and also unique chocolate recipes which were passed from generation to generation until the present day.
Nowadays, Holland is considered as one of the biggest chocolate-producing countries of the world. In leading chocolate stores around the world, there are many famous chocolate products which were produced from Holland such as Tony’s Chocolonely, Kinder Chocolade, After Eight Mint Chocolates, Verkade Choco Mix Minis and much more. And now, Dutch chocolate businesses are listed on the Dutch stock exchange and plays and important role in bringing a huge revenue of money to the country every year.
10. Ivory Coast
The biggest producer of cocoa beans in the world, Ivory Coast contains over a million cocoa farms and plantations, and has produced millions of tons of cocoa beans to serve chocolate-producing industries around the world. And in fact, the world’s two biggest chocolate manufacturers, Hershey’s and M&M’s, has imported most of its chocolate from Ivory Coast. But besides the agricultural success of Ivory Coast, it hides a sad truth. A British TV documentary, “Slavery,” claims 90 percent of Ivory Coast cocoa plantations were cropped by slave labors.
These slave laborers are mainly young men and even sometimes boys from poverty stricken areas in Togo and Mali who were fooled by traffickers promising them of a better life with work plus salary, accommodation and an education that they may never have back at home. None of these promises are true as they are sold to owners of cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast who forces them to work a brutal 18hour per day shifts with little or no pay at all.