July 7th is Chocolate Day!
To celebrate, we’d like to share a little bit about the origins of chocolate as well as one of our favorite chocolate recipes from the Ocean Ranch blog archives.
Chocolate is made from the beans of the cacao tree which are dried and roasted. It is said that cacao can be traced back to the ancient Olmecs of Mexico, around 1500 B.C. No one is sure exactly when cacao was first used, however, it is thought it was used as a ceremonial drink. The Olmecs passed down their knowledge of cacao to the Mayans. It is well known that the Mayans used chocolate with almost every meal as well as for ceremonies and to mark the end of a transaction. The Aztecs also revered chocolate and even used the beans as currency.
Chocolate was then brought to Europe through Spain and they started importing it by 1585. Unfortunately, chocolate was only enjoyed by the wealthy until 1828 when a Dutch chemist invented powdered chocolate that could be mixed with water. The first American chocolate house was opened in Boston in 1682 and by 1773 cocoa beans were a major import and enjoyed by all.
We love chocolate, if you couldn’t tell by our two staple chocolate granola flavors (Oaxacan Chocolate and Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Coffee Bean). Check out one of our favorite recipes from our blog: Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes. They are delicious and full of chocolate-y goodness!