The History of Chocolate Most of us think of chocolate as a sweet candy created during modern day instances, but basically, chocolate dates back for the ancient peoples of Mesoamerica who mixed ground cacao seeds with a variety of seasonings to make a spicy, frothy drink. For these persons, chocolate wasn't just a favourite food, it also played an critical function in their religious and social lives. The history of chocolate begins about 2,000 years ago when the tasty secret from the cacao (kah KOW) tree was found by ancient Maya, inside the tropical rainforests with the Americas. The pods of this tree contain seeds which can be processed into chocolate. The Maya and their ancestors in Mesoamerica took the tree from the rainforest and grew it in their own backyards, where they harvested, fermented, roasted, and ground the seeds into a paste. By 1400, the Aztec empire dominated a sizeable segment of Mesoamerica. The Aztecs traded with Maya and other peoples for cacao and often necessary that citizens and conquered peoples spend their tribute in cacao seeds, a type of Aztec income. Chocolate also played a special role in each Maya and Aztec royal and religious events. Priests presented cacao seeds as offerings towards the gods and served chocolate drinks throughout sacred ceremonies. The history of chocolate in Europe came in the course of the conquest of Mexico in 1521. The Spaniards recognized the value attached to cacao and observed the Aztec custom of drinking chocolate. Soon soon after, the Spanish began to ship cacao seeds back household, they doctored up the bitter brew with cinnamon as well as other spices and began sweetening it with sugar. They managed to help keep their delicious drink a Spanish secret for pretty much 100 years before the rest of Europe found what they had been missing, but then only those with dollars could afford to drink it as cacao and sugar had been highly-priced imports. Ultimately, to help keep up with the demand for chocolate, Spain and lots of other European nations established colonial plantations for developing cacao and sugar. For centuries, chocolate remained a handmade luxury sipped only by society's upper crust. But by the 1800s, mass production made solid chocolate candy inexpensive to a much broader public. The first European chocolate factory was setup in France in 1761 inside the town of Bayonne. Exports at the time were limited to mainly Spain and Paris. The first hydraulic machine for crushing and mixing the chocolate paste was invented in 1778 and in 1819 the very first steam-powered production plant was built. Many popular chocolate businesses right now were founded as household run firms in Europe like Van Houten in the Netherlands in 1815, Menier in France in 1824, Cadbury and Rowntree in England; and Suchard, Nestlé, Lindt and Kohler in Switzerland. Just after about 1850 the production of chocolate became a global organization and production facilities were setup all around the globe. To meet the demands of today's international marketplace, chocolate manufacturing relies on both ancient approaches in the field and new technologies in the factory.