History of Chocolate

Few foods evoke all the senses like chocolate. The taste, the sight, the smell and the memories. It is by far the favourite food of North Americans yet, Chocolate in a solid form has been around for less than two centuries.

Chocolate (theobroma) is Greek for “food of the gods”, and was probably first used by the Olmec people of Mexico around 400 BC.. The Mayans likely began cultivating the cocoa beans around 250 A.D. For the Aztecs, consuming “cacahuatl” was a privilege for the rulers and gods only. Legend has it that Montezuma drank 50 cups of “xocolatl per day, and fathered children until very elderly. According to The Chocolate Bible, cocao was served as a thick concoction, flavored with chilies, cornmeal, achiote and hallucinogenic mushrooms. However, when served to dignitaries and princes they sometimes added aromatic spices, vanilla, aniseed and bees honey. It was also used as a form of currency to barter for goods and services.

In 1528,The Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes explorer who traveled originally with Christopher Columbus,brought the cacao bean from Central America, where it was used as currency. Literally a case of growing money on trees! The clever Spanish added sugar, vanilla and water to the liquid mixture, and changed the Mexican concoction to a more pleasing drink for their taste buds. The Spanish planted the Cacoa trees in its new colonies and managed to keep this treasured secret from the rest of Europe for nearly 100 years where it was a luxury. A handful of Mayans were brought to Spain to share the preparation instruction with the convents and Monasteries in Spain, and the cocoa beans was processed in secret and consumed in a liquid form by the Royal Court and privileged classes where it was highly prized for it medicinal and stimulating properties.

Chocolate beverage soon captivated Europe, spreading to Flanders and the Netherlands (which were Spanish territories) and imported by an Italian merchant to Italy in 1606. It reached France, when the young Spanish princess Infanta Anne was married to Louise X111 of France. She had a passion for chocolate. She brought with her an army of servants who were skilled at preparing chocolate, and it made its debut at the wedding ceremony. A fashion for this beverage was started when the king granted in 1659 “the exclusive privilege of making, selling and serving a certain composition known as chocolate” available to David Chaillou’s Chocolate Boutique. In London, a French establishment offered an excellent West Indian drink called chocolate and soon a large number of chocolate-houses appeared. Chocolate production was archaic using all manual labor to grind the cocoa beans as they did in Mexico. The change to mechanization was slow. In 1732 a grinder was introduced in France and in 1778 a hydraulic grinding machine appeared in Great Britain. Competition grew and new commercial techniques evolved.

We have the new world to thank for the chocolate as we know it today. Namely the English, Swiss, Dutch and French. The first breakthrough to the solid chocolate as we know it today came in Holland In 1828 a Dutch chemist named Van Houten invented a press to extract cocoa butter from the mass of roasted ground cocoa beans. He also discovered that by “alkalizing” cocoa (referred to Dutch processed cocoa powder) this produced a milder tasting cocoa with a darker color. Around that same time another technical advance appeared in Great Britain, in the form of a hydraulic press. When condensed milk was developed in 1875, a Swiss by the name of Daniel Peter successfully united milk and chocolate and created a milk chocolate which the Swiss are famous for.

A sweet chocolate confection was devised in Britain by Cadbury’s reflecting the national taste where sugar was inexpensive due to the many sugar producing mills in the British West Indies. In Belgium Jean Neuhaus developed the hard chocolate shell, which marked the end of the restrictions of centers being solid, and allowed for a liquid center like caramels, light ganache and pralines. The Belgians have been so successful with this creamy whipped filling that the term “praline” has become synonymous with Belgian chocolate. The later part of the 19th century found rapid change with the mechanization of chocolate making, the mass production of chocolate and availability to the masses.

Although cacoa trees is thought to have originated in the Amazon basin, growing under the protective canopy of the rain forest, today it is grown in the equatorial climates around the world, such as South and Central America, the Caribbean, West Africa, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Hawaii.

Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain

Preliminary research suggests chocolate may boost your memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills.

By Marjorie Ingall

Listen to the way people malign chocolate: Sinful! Decadent! To die for! There’s even that popular restaurant dessert known as “Death by Chocolate.” But is this any way to talk about a loved one — especially during the season of comfort and joy?

Bite your tongue! Evidence is mounting that some kinds of chocolate are actually good for you. Here’s the latest about the healthy side of your chocolate habit and taste-tested advice on what to try. Merry munching.

A happier heart

Scientists at the Harvard University School of Public Health recently examined 136 studies on coco — the foundation for chocolate — and found it does seem to boost heart health, according to an article in the European journal Nutrition and Metabolism.

“Studies have shown heart benefits from increased blood flow, less platelet stickiness and clotting, and improved bad cholesterol,” says Mary B. Engler, Ph.D., a chocolate researcher and director of the Cardiovascular and Genomics Graduate Program at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing. These benefits are the result of cocoa’s antioxidant chemicals known as flavonoids, which seem to prevent both cell damage and inflammation.

Better blood pressure

If yours is high, chocolate may help. Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at Tufts University, recently found that hypertensive people who ate 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate per day for two weeks saw their blood pressure drop significantly, according to an article in the journal Hypertension. Their bad cholesterol dropped, too.

People who ate the same amount of white chocolate? Nothing. (It doesn’t have any cocoa — or flavonoids.) Word to the wise: 3.5 ounces is roughly equal to a big bar of baking chocolate, so the participants had to cut about 400 calories out of their daily diets to make room. But you probably don’t have to go to those lengths. Just a bite may do you good, Blumberg says.

Muscle magic

Chocolate milk may help you recover after a hard workout. In a small study at Indiana University, elite cyclists who drank chocolate milk between workouts scored better on fatigue and endurance tests than those who had some sports drinks. Yoo-hoo!

TLC for your skin

German researchers gave 24 women a half-cup of special extra-flavonoid-enriched cocoa every day. After three months, the women’s skin was moister, smoother, and less scaly and red when exposed to ultraviolet light. The researchers think the flavonoids, which absorb UV light, help protect and increase blood flow to the skin, improving its appearance.

Brain gains

It sounds almost too good to be true, but preliminary research at West Virginia’s Wheeling Jesuit University suggests chocolate may boost your memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. Chocolate companies found comparable gains in similar research on healthy young women and on elderly people.

Good loving (maybe)

Finally, Italian researchers wanted to know whether chocolate truly is an aphrodisiac. In a survey of 143 women published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, those who ate chocolate every day seemed to have more sex drive, better lubrication, and an easier time reaching orgasm. Pass the Godiva, right?

Not so fast. The women who ate chocolate were all younger than the ones who didn’t; it was age and not chocolate that made the difference. Still, if a double-chocolate raspberry truffle puts you in the mood, why let science get in the way?

New York–based writer Marjorie Ingall loves milk chocolate but says she’s ready to go dark this year

Copyright 2006 HEALTH Magazine. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Nutritional values for pure imported Belgian chocolates and truffles

Did you know that our pure imported Belgian chocolate is healthy for you?

Have a look at the numbers below and start enjoying a piece or more every day…. guilt-free!

Pure Belgian Chocolate Calories Carbs Lipids Proteins
  Per 100gr Per piece 5gr Per 100gr Per piece 5gr Per 100gr Per piece 5g Per 100gr Per piece 5gr
Milk Chocolate 546 27.3 52 2.6gr 33 1.7gr 7 0.4gr
Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa) 507 25.4 31 1.6gr 39 2.0gr 8 0.4gr
Dark Chocolate (88% cocoa) 540 27.0 23 1.2gr 48 2.4gr 11 0.6gr
Belgian Chocolate Truffles Calories Carbs Lipids Proteins
Manons, Pralines, Ganaches Per 100gr Per piece 16gr Per 100gr Per piece 16gr Per 100gr Per piece 16gr Per 100gr Per piece 16gr
On average (+- 5%) 558 95 46 7.4gr 40 6.4gr 4 0.6gr


What is pure Belgian Chocolate?

What is a cocoa bean? The cocoa bean is the “fruit” of the cocoa tree. Cocoa powder and cocoa butter are extracted from this bean through a very complex process. Cocoa powder and cocoa butter, complemented with sugar (and milk) are the ONLY ingredients of pure Belgian chocolate.

What is dark chocolate? Dark chocolate contains no less than 45% cocoa powder and a maximum of 55% sugar.

What is milk chocolate? Milk chocolate contains no less than 25% cocoa powder, maximum 55% sugar and is complemented with milk.

What is white chocolate? White chocolate contains no less than 20% cocoa butter and is complemented with sugar and milk.

What is a Chocolate Truffle? “Truffle” is a generic term covering a wide variety of plain or fancy chocolate pieces including:

  • the French “Truffe” or old fashioned truffle: a velvety blend of pure chocolate and butter
  • the “Manon”: flavoured fresh cream in a pure chocolate shell
  • the “Ganache”: a delicate blend of pure chocolate and fresh cream in a pure chocolate shell
  • the Belgian “Praline”: a creamy blend of finely grounded roasted nuts, chocolate and sugar in a pure chocolate shell

Truffles are usually flavoured with coffee, tea, vanilla, natural fruit extracts or fine liqueurs.

Pure Belgian chocolate provides the body with a plethora of minerals

Often working in conjunction with vitamins, minerals are indispensable to healthy physical functioning.

% of RDA *
per 100gr
In which chocolate? Functions
3 – 40%
Mostly found in milk and white chocolate – needed for the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth
– together with vitamin A, aids coagulation of blood in wounds
– plays a role in muscle function
6 – 60%
The greatest concentrations are found in dark chocolate – helps maintain a strong skeletal system
– primarily active in the promotion of memory and brain function and in preventing depression
0 – 60%
Mostly found in dark chocolate, in a lesser extent, in milk chocolate – has a role in countering cardiovascular disease
2 – 35%
Mostly found in dark chocolate – active in the transport of oxygen to all body tissues
25 – 35%
Only found in milk and dark chocolate – involved in the maintenance of a strong skeletal system.
– has a role in the utilization of energy arising from food.
7 – 17%
The highest concentrations are found in dark chocolate – important in the take-up of nutritional elements from macro-nutrients
– involved in cell growth and the repair of tissue in the human body
0 – 100%
Mostly found in dark chocolate, in a lesser extent, in milk chocolate – helps the functioning of the nervous system
* RDA = Recommended Daily Allowance

Our Chocolate Seminars – Education and Fun for the Chocolate Lover

Our Chocolate and Wine (optional) tasting sessions are the perfect event to finish up a business team meeting or to celebrate a friend’s birthday. All our sessions are organized on-site and are tailored to our clients’ specific requirements for content, timing and duration.

Chocolate and wine tasting events are ideal to be included in an employee recognition day or a client appreciation night.

A typical 1 1/2 hour session includes:

  • a chocolate fondue (fruits and cookies)
  • “unlimited” tasting of pure Belgian chocolates and truffles
  • tasting of 3 different wines pairing the chocolates

An informative chocolate presentation, by Simone Marie, guides the participants through the MAGIC of chocolate and answer their most typical questions: WHY …? HOW …? WHAT IS Authentic Belgian Chocolate?

The cost for a session (held within the Greater Toronto Area) for 20 participants is $600.00 (+ taxes)

Advance booking required (minimum 4 weeks)

Call Simone Marie at 416-968-7777 to learn more or to get a quote for a larger number of participants or to organize a session in another city (Ontario only).