A word evoking a plethora of images and emotions within us. Smooth texture, bursts of taste, feeling of comfort and happiness. Seductive pleasure. Who doesn't love the taste of this ancient indulgence?
In any case, chocolate is simply the best thing I know, even though my preference is white chocolate, which by some is not considered true chocolate at all. This due to the fact that it lacks the cocoa solids.
The raw material for chocolate production; cocoa mass, comes from the beans of the Cacao Tree, which has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Central and South America. Cocoa mass was used originally in Mesoamerica both as a beverage and as an ingredient in foods. The earliest chocolate beverages were made by the Aztecs. Known as Xocolātl, a Nahuatl word meaning "bitter water", most likely due to the fact that the seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop the flavor.
The Maya civilization used the cacao beans to make a frothy, bitter drink used for ceremonial purposes and in addition to everyday life. The chocolate residue found in an early ancient Maya pot in Río Azul, Guatemala, suggests that Maya were drinking chocolate around 400 AD.
Until the 16th century, no European had ever heard of this popular drink used by the Central and South American people. It was not until the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs that chocolate could be imported to Europe.
Chocolate has become one of the most popular food types and flavors in the world. While it is regularly eaten for pleasure, it has been linked to particular health benefits in the human body. Dark chocolate benefits the circulatory system, lowers blood pressure and it has been linked to serotonin levels in the brain.