The Essence of Chocolate
The pure indulgence of chocolate has become America's favorite. In the beginning chocolate, which is derived from a cacao bean, was worshipped as an idol by the Mayan Indians over 2,000 years ago. Dating back to the 1500's, the last Aztec emperor, Montezuma II, was consuming a drink called "Cacahuatt". Chocolate was a delicacy that only the rich and important could indulge in, it was treated as a "treasure". After Hernando Cortez tasted the drink he brought some beans back to his homeland Spain where he heated the cacao bean making hot chocolate and adding sweeteners. His secret could not be contained and was revealed and the drink's fame spread across other lands.
By the mid-1600's the drink had spread to France and London where the first hot chocolate shop opened. By the 1700's chocolate houses were as famous as coffee houses in England. The first chocolate factory opened in 1765 in the Massachusetts Bay area.
By the mid 1800's a cocoa press had been invented enabling chocolate candy to be made with cocoa butter and refined sugar. In 1894, Milton Hershey established the Hershey Chocolate Company manufacturing and selling Hershey's cocoa, Hershey's baking chocolate and Hershey's sweet chocolate. Mr. Hershey was called the "Henry Ford" of chocolate because he could mass produce a quality bar at a price everyone could afford.