We met some amazing creative folks in November and we are really looking forward to our December events!
We also received a review of The Waring Signs: Tales of Horror and Dark Fantasy By Clara Barzon, The Bookish Blogger. You can access the full review by visiting the site below.
During the month of December there will be a limited time sale on
The Blood Inheritance series two book set (Kindle Edition). This countdown deal is available through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. It is set to begin on the 8th and end on the 15th.
During the month of December there will be a limited time sale on The Warning Signs: Tales of Horror and Dark Fantasy (Kindle Edition). This countdown deal is available through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. It is set to begin on the 26th and end on the 2nd of January.
readersfavorite.com will have all three of my available Blood Inheritance Novels listed as prizes in the monthly book giveaway. If you are interested in winning some amazing books by great authors you can check out the monthly giveaway here: book giveaway /Rise or/and here: book-giveaway/lost and here: book-giveaway/endow
Upcoming Event Reminders:
Concealed Realms is excited to be part of the Toy Con Christmas Charity Toy Drive! This event takes place at the Bridgeview Community Center in Bridgeview, IL on Dec 4th and 5th. To learn more about Toy Con events visit: toycontoyshow.com
Concealed Realms is scheduled to participate at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo by REEDPOP! The event takes place from December 10th -12th at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.
We are scheduled to participate at PeoriaCon on March 5th and 6th. This event takes place at Expo Gardens, Peoria, IL.
We plan to participate at the Mighty Con Event – Quad Cities Comic Con April 2nd and 3rd at the Quad Cities Expo Center in Rock Island, IL -https://mightyconshows.com/show/quad-cities (awaiting confirmation)
We are scheduled to participate at the ST. LOUIS MIGHTY CON. The event will take place June 18th and 19th at the St. Charles Convention Center in Saint Charles, MO.
Concealed Realms plans to participate at Planet Funk Con, June 24th – 26th. The event will take place at the RiverCenter in Davenport, IA.
“Chocolate knows no boundaries; speaks all languages; comes in all sizes; is woven through many cultures and disciplines … it impacts mood, health, and economics, and it is a part of our lives from early childhood through the elderly years.”
– Herman A. Berliner
“May all the mountains you climb in life … be made of chocolate.”
– Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazer
‘Will looked horrified.
“What kind of monster could possibly hate chocolate?”
– Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
“Sunshine and chocolate all over me
In my mouth and on my tree
Round my body under my hat
Sunshine and chocolate just like that”
“The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power…it is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits.”
– Justus von Liebig
“Look, there’s no metaphysics on earth like chocolates.”
– Fernando Pessoa, The Collected Poems Of Alvaro De Campos: 1928 1935: V. 2
“Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four pieces with your bare hands — and then eat just one of the pieces.”
– Judith Viorst, Love & Guilt & The Meaning Of Life, Etc
“Chocolate should be savored, not rushed.“
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
– Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump
Definition of Chocolate:
Noun “a preparation of the seeds of cacao, roasted, husked, and ground, often sweetened and flavored, as with vanilla.. “ – www.dictionary.com
There is no question that today chocolate is enjoyed by most people year round in one form or another. This seemingly versatile treat has been used in many ways. It is often molded to create shaped characters and coins, and even used to flavor or enhance cookies, cakes, and other confections. As such, its easy to share and makes a great gift, but it is also an important part of many holiday traditions around the world. Its no wonder that at this time of year in particular, throughout the winter season, we see an abundance of it everywhere we go.
Would you be surprised to learn that even though its believed that chocolate has been consumed for thousands of years, for the majority of it’s history, it was strictly a beverage, and a bitter one at that? In this post, I will take a brief look at the rich history of early chocolate.
Magic Beans – A Condensed History of Chocolate
Where does Chocolate come from?
The story of chocolate begins thousands of years ago in the region we know as Southern Mexico and Central America where cacao trees are native. Chocolate is produced from the elongated fruit of cacao trees, called pods. These pods usually range from yellow to red in color and typically anywhere from 20 to 50 beans are inside each pod. The Beans of the cacao tree have a bitter taste and must be fermented to develop the flavor. The beans are dried, roasted, and ground to cocoa mass, chocolate in rough form.
Olmecs, Mayans , and Aztecs
The Olmecs of southern Mexico may have been the first to ferment, roast, and grind cacao beans for ceremonial drinks and gruels. Archeologists have uncovered ancient pots and vessels from around 1500 B.C. that contain traces of theobromine, a stimulant compound found in chocolate and tea, however since there is no written history for the Olmecs, opinions differ on if they used cacao beans or just the pulp of the cacao pod, which can be and is still used to create an alcoholic drinks today.
The Olmecs passed their cacao knowledge on to the Central American Mayans who centuries later, praised chocolate as the drink of the gods. Mayan chocolate was a thick, frothy brew called “xocolatl”, meaning “bitter water.” The beverage was made from Cacao seeds that were fermented, roasted, and ground. The paste was then often combined with things like chilies, cornmeal, and water. Mayan written history mentions chocolate drinks being used not only in many types of celebrations, and rituals, but also to treat a wide range of ailments.
Despite chocolate’s importance in their culture, it wasn’t reserved for the wealthy or powerful. Mayans believed that chocolate was a gift to humans from the gods and should be shared with all of the people regardless of their social standing. In fact, it is thought that they may have even consumed chocolate on a daily basis, similar to how we now consume coffee.
Although both the Mayan and the Aztec people used “xocolatl” in rituals and ceremonies, the Aztec placed a higher value on the chocolate drink. Perhaps this is in part because the Aztecs, unlike the Mayans, did not cultivated cacao themselves, so it was expensive to produce.
Since the Aztecs believed that the drink was medicinal, provided energy, and could help heal wounds faster, warriors would drink it before battle, but other lower class members of society could only get a taste on special occasions. For the most part only the wealthy, royalty, and high priests could afford to drink it on a regular basis. In fact, by the 15th century, the Aztecs used cocoa beans as currency.
Spain, The Colonies, and Beyond
Although there are several theories regarding how Cacao first reached Spain . One of the most popular is that the Spanish conquistadors who invaded Mesoamerica were introduced to the “xocolatl” and were believed to have brought cacao beans back to Europe with them. When they did, it is said that Spanish monks found they could make the drink more pleasant by adding sugar and honey to sweeten the naturally bitter taste.
The Spanish kept the discovery secret for long time. It was nearly a century before the treat reached neighboring France. Believed to have nutritious, medicinal, and even aphrodisiac properties, by the 17th century, chocolate was a favorite drink of the rich throughout Europe. It wasn’t until industrial developments that mechanized many of the labor-intensive tasks involved in its production that chocolate became more affordable.
In the America‘s however, versions of adapted drinking chocolate returned as early as the mid-17th century. It was even advertised for sale in the newspapers of growing colonies and quickly became a far more a commonplace drink than it ever was in Europe.
Casparus van Houten is credited with introducing a method for pressing the fat (cocoa butter) from roasted cocoa beans to inexpensively and easily make cocoa powder. In 1828 his son, C.J. van Houten patented a process for the “cacao press”. Coenraad Johannes van Houten (a Dutch chemist) is also credited with finding a way to treat Cacao with alkaline salts in order o remove the bitter taste and make cocoa solids more water soluble. This became known as “Dutch Processing”
For much of the 19th century, chocolate was still enjoyed mainly as a beverage. In 1847, Joseph Fry discovered that he could make chocolate paste by adding melted cacao butter back into Dutch cocoa. This chocolatier is credited with making the first modern chocolate bar, which was molded from a paste made of sugar, chocolate liquor and cocoa butter.
From there, compared to its past, the evolution of chocolate moved rapidly. By 1868 Richard Cadbury introduced the first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates. Then in 1876 (a Swiss chocolatier) Daniel Peter, added dried milk powder to chocolate, creating milk chocolate. Several years later he would team up with his friend Henri Nestle to create the Nestle Company and bring his treat to the mass market.
Even though chocolate had come a long way during the 19th century, it was still difficult to chew. and very hard. Then in 1879 Rudolf Lindt, (another Swiss chocolatier) invented a machine that would mix and aerate chocolate, giving it a smooth consistency that blended well with other ingredients.
To meet the growing demand for affordable chocolate, by early 20th century, several family companies were mass-producing a variety of chocolate confections, including the Hershey Chocolate factory in 1905 and the Mar-O-Bar company ( Later called Mars) in 1932.
Five Interesting Chocolate facts
- White chocolate really isn’t chocolate
White chocolate isn’t actually considered to be chocolate because it does not contain cocoa particles. This treat is made up of a blend of cocoa butter, vanilla, and sugar.
- Chocolate impacts your brain
Chocolate boosts the production of endorphins in your brain. It also includes contains quite a few mood-boosting ingredients, including tryptophan, which stimulates the hormone serotonin, which causes generalized euphoria, and a compound called anandamide, which can provide a sense of well-being as it binds to the dopamine receptors in the brain.
- Dark chocolate can be good for your teeth
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants. When it comes to oral health, having higher levels of antioxidants in your saliva has been shown to help fight gum disease. Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols. These chemicals can help fight the overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth and neutralize organisms that cause bad breath.
- The chocolate chip cookie was created by accident.
In the 1930s, Ruth Wakefield, added pieces of broken chocolate bar into her cookie batter thinking that they would melt, resulting in chocolate cookies. Instead, a classic cookie was born.
- Making Chocolate takes a lot of beans
It takes about 400 cacao beans to make just one pound of chocolate.
According to ScienceDaliey.com, scientists have dated the origin and evolution of the cacao tree to around 10 million years ago and although it’s hard to pin down exactly when it was first consumed by humans, it is clear that chocolate has had a long, rich history and that it was cherished from the start.
When most of us think of chocolate, we think of candy bars and other delightful confections, even though throughout much of history, chocolate was a bitter beverage, not a sweet, edible solid. It wasn’t until the 20th century, that the word “chocolate” would include a range of affordable treats with more sugar and additives that we have come to associate with the word.
I hope that you enjoyed this brief look at early chocolate. Stay safe and keep being awesome.