Ever wondered where this deliciously decadent treat originated?

It’s hardly surprising that chocolate has been described as the “food of the gods”; it’s named after the Latin word for Cacao, Theobroma which means exactly that.

Chocolate has a long and rich history; throughout early South American civilisation, this humble bean has played an important role in both trade and ritual. As early as 1,600 years ago the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs indulged in a chocolate drink called chocolatl made from cacao seeds, even sharing it in betrothal and marriage ceremonies; quite possibly the first link between chocolate and romance.

Said to have drunk more than 50 cups of chocolate a day, the Aztec Emperor Montezuma (c. 1480-1520) declared “The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink (cacao) permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.” In the early 1500’s the Spaniards were introduced to chocolatl, guarding the secret of its production for nearly 100 years.

Taking cacao plants back to Spain, the Spanish elite were soon initiated into the delights of chocolatl. By the mid-1600’s these little brown beans had gained widespread popularity in France, and were praised as a health-giving food enjoyed by the fabulously wealthy! The first hot chocolate shop opened in London and by the 1700’s these “chocolate houses” were everywhere, as the legend of chocolate continued to spread.

At the introduction of the steam engine in the 18th century, most countries from England to Austria began chocolate production, making chocolate affordable to all. Today millions of people around the world enjoy chocolate in thousands of different forms, consuming more than 3 million tons of cacao beans annually, a staggering amount of chocolate!

At House of Chocolate we’re proud to be a part of the chocolate industry, helping share chocolatey goodness every day. Where do our chocolates come from? Right here on site from our own tried and trusted recipes … it’s doesn’t get more homemade or gourmet than House of Chocolate! Do get in touch if you need your chocolate fix. It’s a great cure for almost all ailments!