Spanish monks, who had been consigned to process the cocoa beans, finally let the secret out. It did not take long before chocolate was acclaimed throughout Europe as a delicious, health-giving food. For a while it reigned as the drink at the fashionable Court of France.
Chocolate drinking spread across the Channel to Great Britain, and in 1657 the first of many famous English Chocolate Houses appeared.
The hand methods of manufacture used by small shops gave way in time to the mass production of chocolate. The transition was hastened by the advent of a perfected steam engine which mechanized the cocoa grinding process. By 1730, chocolate had dropped in price from three dollars or more per pound to within the financial reach of all. The invention of the cocoa press in 1828 reduced the prices even further and helped to improve the the quality of the beverage by squeezing out part of the cocoa butter, the fat that occurs naturally in cocoa beans. From then on, drinking chocolate had more of the smooth consistency and the pleasing flavor it has today.
The 19th Century marked two more revolutionary developments in the history of chocolate. In 1847, an English company introduced solid “eating chocolate” through the development of fondant chocolate, a smooth and velvety variety that has almost completely replaced the old coarse grained chocolate which formerly dominated the world market. The second development occurred in 1876 in Vevey, Switzerland, when Daniel Peter devised a way of adding milk to the chocolate, creating the product we enjoy today known as milk chocolate.
Tags: cocoa beans, cocoa butter, daniel peter, drinking chocolate, eating chocolate, english chocolate, grinding process, history of chocolate, invention, mass production, milk chocolate, monks, pleasing flavor, production of chocolate, revolutionary developments, smooth consistency, steam engine, three dollars, vevey switzerland, world market