Gardengrrl likes being outside and watching "Sky-TV"
By: GardenGrrl, 2:12 AM GMT on October 25, 2011
We can thank the unusual tastes of our ancestors for the delight known as chocolate today. Raw cocoa beans are bitter and frankly, kind of nasty tasting. If the raw cocoa bean was an amazing treat, one can only think of the foods from yesteryear, shudder and say, “Ewwww.”
Perhaps it was the effect of cocoa that kept our ancestors interested in eating it. Cocoa is both a stimulant and mood enhancer.
Discovered by the Mayans it became a food staple associated with wealth. When the Aztecs conquered a large part of Mexico in the 14th century they embraced the cocoa bean as a “food of the God’s”. This seemed to give it monetary value and cocoa beans were traded like money.
The favorite drink of that period was called xocoatl which when prounounced sounds much like the word chocolate. It was a paste of bitter cocoa beans mixed with chiles. I imagine that got the endorphins going.
Hernando Cortez noticed the value of cocoa in that region and started a plantation to grow this new world money. Although not a fan of the bitter taste Cortez brought cocoa beans back to Spain in the 1600’s.
The Spaniards added sugar to the drink called xocoatl. Later the chiles were dropped and it was drank as hot chocolate. Without modern processing it still no doubt tasted like a bitter chocolate drink. The wealthy and royal, however, embraced it as a food exclusive to nobility.
During the 1700’s cocoa made it’s way across Europe becoming more accessible to lower classes that had money but not noble connections. Arriving with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, a chocolate that somewhat resembles what we have today emerges.
In 1828 Hendrick Von Houten invented the cocoa press. Using Van Houten’s press and a process called Dutching, hot chocolate as we know and love it was created.
In 1875 Daniel Peter made the first milk chocolate using condensed milk invented by his friend Henri Nestle. This was not the chocolate we know. It was like a grainy paste. Drier chocolate was formed into crumbly bars. Chocolate did not melt in your mouth, it had to be chewed. Mass production made this new chocolate available to everyone.
In 1879, a date which should be dear to chocophiles everywhere, Rudolphe Lindt created the first creamy, melt in your mouth chocolate. Not content with the quality, Lindt went on the same year to invent the Conching machine. With this came the smooth quality chocolate that we know today.
Lindt chocolates continue to be the finest mass produced chocolate in the world. Sure there are some other names out there that cost more and claim to be exclusive but now as back in the 1800’s, Lindt still sets the standard for other large chocolate makers to reach.
A contender to Lindt dark chocolate, however, is an American company called Scharffen Berger created in 1997. They make some stellar dark chocolate. Still, no one has ever topped the Lindt Lindor Truffle. If you haven’t tried one, buy a bag or buy a Lindor Bar. It is a trip to chocolate heaven.
Note; most of this history of chocolate comes from a book called; "Lindt Chocolate Passion, Lindts Maitres Chocolatiers share their recipes and techniques". If you love chocolate and love to cook, this book is a must have for your collection.
My sister sent me that book along with a ten pound box of assorted Lindt bars and truffles. Best gift ever! It inspired me to do a photo shoot of my wonderful chocolates.
Updated: 2:19 AM GMT on October 25, 2011
By: GardenGrrl, 10:51 PM GMT on October 09, 2011
The Top News Today is RAIN! Lot's of rain for our drought stricken area. (Exactly 1 inch in the gauge). I will not begrudge the cloud cover that is preventing me from completing my moon shot series. Was taking a photo everyday from same place, same time since the waxing crescent.
Here's Roxie with this months public service announcment followed by the moon series.
Okay this last one has a green halo thus proving the moon really is made of green cheese.
Actually I was wondering if anyone knows why I got the halo. Had to move to a more sheltered area due to wind. Am wondering if shooting near the street light did this.
And lastly one of the pictures from the Chocolate Series that I have not finished shooting yet due to my subjects keep getting eaten.
Okay,the insert always goes to the bottom. This is the 10th
Was having fun with piknik effects here.
Updated: 4:12 PM GMT on October 18, 2011