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Thoughts from the Chief Chocolate lady

Changing Chocolate Trends

by Flo Broughton 29 Jul 2019 0 Comments

The origin of Chocolate

The origins of chocolate can be traced all the way back to Aztec times when they named a bitter drink made out of cacao beans named, “xocoarl”! It is believed that the Aztecs and Mayans thought that the cacao bean possessed magical properties and therefore used the beans for all type’s rituals throughout life. Additionally, many victims of sacrifice were given the cacao drink before the ritual in order to cheer them up.

Chocolate started to become sweeter at the same time the Europeans discovered the Americas. As apparently, Montezuma the Aztec king gladly welcomed the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes with the most divine and rich offering they had, as the king believed Cortes was a reincarnated god. However, Cortes and his explorers found the bitterness far too much and decided to add some honey and then sweet chocolate was born! They loved it so much that they took the new blend of choccy back to Spain with them, where it took off and became very popular. It was as early as the 17th century that chocolate was being drank throughout the whole of Europe! As many believed that is possessed aphrodisiac, magical and medicinal properties. However, it was predominately only the richer people that could afford to eat chocolate until the late 1700s.  

Soon after, in 1828 a Dutch chemist invented a way in which he could create powdered chocolate by taking out the cacao butter. This eventually became known as “Dutch cocoa” and led to the invention of solid chocolate. The first chocolate bar was made in 1847 by Brition Joseph Fry! Shortly afterwards in 1876 Daniel Peter and Henri Nestle created the Nestle company and introduced milk chocolate into mass production and consumption.

21st Century Trends

By the 21st Century, Chocolate had taken off across the globe! However, a growing trend in chocolate highlighted an interest in health benefits and quality of the products marked by the millennial generations. The demand for organic, vegan and sugar free chocolate has sored over the recent years. This can be largely explained by healthy living preferences and wider knowledge of fair-trading laws. Due to this, many large companies such as Nestle have reinvented and rebranded some of their chocolates to fit in this new market. For example, Nestle announced that they were attempting to remove 10% of their sugar content from their chocolate by 2018. They actually succeeded in a 7.4% reduction by upping the quantities of all the other ingredients.

Many new companies are now just focusing on single-origin chocolate bars in order to cater for this new higher demand for healthy chocolate. Also known as bean-to-bar chocolate, it is vastly different to mass produced chocolate we all know. Bean-to-bar makers are famous for doing a lot of the work themselves, travelling across the world to find the best cacao, the fairest farms and co-operatives and then bringing the beams back to process into chocolate. These types of companies are often small and all handmake their chocolate, led by a few experts.

These companies also often use raw and pure chocolate as their product. This is where you will find the essential difference between mass produced chocolate and bean-to-bar chocolate. The more commercial companies usually heat their beans to temperatures pf 130-400 degrees centigrade which can lead to nutrients and ani-oxidants being destroyed. Which does not interest the younger generations. On the other hand, the raw chocolate beans are never heated above 42 degrees centigrade, meaning the keep all the natural benefits of the cacao bean.

If you head over to our blog about chocolate ingredients you can see what actually makes up a bar of chocolate!

One of the newer trends to hit the UK is dark-milk chocolate. It technically has to be called dark-milk as the cocoa mass is greater than 40-50%. Steadily increasing in shops and supermarkets throughout the UK, has resulted in Cadbury announcing their dark-milk chocolate line. Marketed as offering a more grown up taste it includes 40% cocoa solids and 14% milk solids, which appeals to most generations.

The most recent chocolate trend to hit the UK is ruby chocolate. Initially created by the chocolate company Barry Callebaut, ruby chocolate is made from cocoa beans found in Brazil, Ecuador and the Ivory Coast, which give chocolate a naturally rosy glow. This latest launch of chocolate comes from Nestle in the form of the pink KitKat.


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