Chocolate is one of the most popular sweet-tasting desserts and flavours being sold worldwide

Chocolate is one of the most popular sweet-tasting desserts and flavours being sold worldwide (Hofberger and Tanabe, 2007). Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans of the cocoa tree, Theobroma cacao, which is indigenous to South America and believed to have originated from the tropical Amazon forest. Theobroma is derived from the Greek words and means “food of the Gods”. Theobroma is of the family Sterculiaceae and there are four principal types: Criollo, with about 5% of world cocoa production; Forastero with smaller, flatter and purple beans grown mainly in Brazil and West Africa; Nacional, with fine flavour, grown in Ecuador and finally, Trinitario, a more disease-resisted hybrid of Criollo and Forastero which is considered as a flavour bean (Fowler, 2009; Afoakwa, 2010). Forastero is classified as bulk, basic, or ordinary cocoa grade. Bulk cocoas account for more than 90% of the world production of cocoa and are used to produce cocoa mass, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and milk/dark chocolate (Fowler, 2009).
Cocoa plantations were firstly known and established by the Maya in the lowlands of south Yucatan. Cocoa trees were grown by the Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of Peru long before (at least 1000 years) the arrival of the Europeans. The beans were prized and used as currency and also for the production of a spiced drink known as “Chocolatl” (Beckett, 2008). The chocolate was made from the roasted (roasting the beans in earthenware pods) and then grinding and crushing them between stones. The mixture was added to cold water to make a drink. Vanilla, spice flavours or honey were often added and the drink whipped to make if frothy (Whymper, 1912; Afoakwa, 2010). According to legend, the Aztec Emperor, Montezeuma, regularly consumed (50 jars) of this beverage per day, which was considered to have aphrodisiac properties (Beckett, 2009; Beckett, 2008).
The first cocoa beans were brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus as a curiosity but later introduced commercially by Don Cortez as a new drink to Spain in 1520s. Spaniards found the value of cocoa beans and kept a monopoly on is use and production for about a century. This sweetened chocolate drink then spread to Italy, Holland, France and England. It should be noted that chocolate has a long history for its development from spreading first as a chocolate drink to the chocolate bar that people know nowadays (Beckett, 2009; Beckett, 2008; Afoakwa, 2010; Hofberger and Tanabe, 2007). Table 2.1 illustrates significant changes and developments of chocolate and its production over centuries.


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