History of Chocolate

I owe it all to little chocolate donuts. - John Belushi

Originally chocolate wasn’t chocolate, as we know it today. The seed, or bean, comes from the cacao tree.. Theobroma cacao is the scientific name meaning “food of the gods”.The ancient people of Mesoamerica thought of the cacao tree in this guise but the word cacao itself comes from both the Mayan word kakaw and the Aztec word cacahuatl, both of which have the meaning “bitter water”.

These trees were first harvested over 3000 years ago. Cacao was valued as a drink, but the beans were often used as a form of currency.

The fruit of the cacao tree grows on the trunk, not on the branches.

The original cacao drink wasn’t sweet but bitter and spicy. The Mayan word xocoatl, which is also chocolatl in Mexican native, means “foam water”, and refers to the practice the Mayans had of pouring the liquid back and forth, sometimes from great heights, until the drink was very frothy. But there was no sugar in the Americas; chili pepper, cinnamon, vanilla and sometimes cornmeal were added to flavor the cacao drink.

Christopher Columbus was reportedly the first European to see the cacao fruit. He and his crew captured a canoe full of the fruit and brought back some beans.

The Spanish defeated the Aztec Empire and were offered whipped chocolatl. It is reported that the Spanish could not stomach the bitter brew. However, they were impressed that the Aztecs drank so much and therefore believed that it must have some properties to commend it.

The Spanish sailed back with their boats loaded with cacao beans and instructions on how to prepare the drink. Someone had the idea to add sugar to counteract the bitter taste. They kept the vanilla and cinnamon in but removed the chilli.

For many years the Spaniards kept the secret of this drink, then known only as chocolate, to themselves. But slowly its medical properties saw it spread across Europe.  It was also thought to have aphrodisiac properties.

In 1631, a treatis about chocolate, extolled the many health benefits of chocolate, but also gave the world the first written chocolate recipe. “

The finer Coffee Houses of England started serving chocolate hot, and some establishments open serving nothing but “this excellent West India drink.”

Later in that century the president of England’s Royal College of Physicians, visited Jamaica. He tried the chocolate drink and found it “nauseous”. He thought that perhaps if mixed with a little milk, to lessen the strength it would be more palatable and this seems to herald the advent of milk chocolate.

All over Europe people were beginning to drink chocolate and were making improvements to the brew. In the Netherlands, in 1828the Dutch discovered a process to separate cocoa butter from cocoa powder. The cocoa powder was much easier to mix with water and milk.

The cocoa powder that the Dutch created was quite similar to the instant we use now.

Today, the international variety of hot chocolate is as diverse as the countries themselves.

Hanes siocled yfed

Yn wreiddiol, nid siocled oedd siocled – wel, nid y math rydyn ni’n gyfarwydd ag ef heddiw.  Daw’r hedyn, neu’r ffeuen, o’r goeden cacao.  Theobroma cacao yw’r enw gwyddonol, sy’n golygu “bwyd y duwiau”.  Roedd pobl hynafol Mesoamerica yn meddwl mai dyna oedd y goeden, ond daw’r gair cacao ei hunan o’r gair Maya kakaw a’r gair Astec cacahuatl, y ddau beth yn golygu “dŵr chwerw”.

Cynaeafwyd y coed hyn gyntaf dros 3,000 o flynyddoedd yn ôl.  Roedd bri mawr ar cacao fel diod, ond roedd y ffa hefyd yn cael eu defnyddio fel arian cyfred yn aml.

Mae ffrwyth y goeden cacao yn tyfu ar y boncyff, nid ar y canghennau

Nid oedd y ddiod cacao wreiddiol yn felys, ond yn chwerw a sbeislyd.  Mae’r gair Maya, xocoatl, a ddaeth yn chocolatl yn iaith frodorol Mecsico, yn golygu “dŵr ewyn”, ac mae’n cyfeirio at arferiad pobl y Maya o dywallt yr hylif yn ôl ac ymlaen, weithiau o uchder mawr, nes byddai’r ddiod yn ewynnog iawn.  Ond nid oedd siwgr ar gyfandir America; ychwanegwyd pupurau tsili, sinamon, fanila ac ŷd weithiau er mwyn ychwanegu blas at y ddiod cacao.

Dywedir mai Christopher Columbus oedd yr Ewropead cyntaf i weld ffrwyth y goeden cacao.  Fe wnaeth ef a’i griw gipio canŵ yn llawn o’r ffrwythau a dod â ffa yn ôl gyda nhw.

Trechodd Sbaen Ymerodraeth yr Asteciaid, ac fe gawson nhw gynnig chocolatl wedi’i chwipio’n.  Dywedir na allai’r Sbaenwyr stumogi’r sylwedd chwerw.  Er hynny, roedden nhw wedi rhyfeddu faint o’r ddiod roedd yr Asteciaid yn ei yfed, ac yn credu felly bod yn rhaid bod rhywbeth arbennig amdano.

Fe hwyliodd y Sbaenwyr yn ôl adref gyda’u llongau yn llawn i’r ymylon o ffa cacao, a chyfarwyddiadau ar sut i baratoi’r ddiod.  Cafodd rhywun y syniad o ychwanegu siwgr i weithio yn erbyn y blas chwerw.  Fe wnaethon nhw gadw’r fanila a’r sinamon ond hepgor y pupurau tsili.

Am nifer o flynyddoedd, cadwodd y Sbaenwyr y ddiod hon, a oedd yn cael ei alw bryd hynny’n siocled, yn gyfrinach.  Ond yn araf, lledaenodd yr arfer o yfed siocled ledled Ewrop oherwydd ei rinweddau iachau.  Credid hefyd ei fod yn affrodisiad.

Yn 1631, cyhoeddwyd traethawd yn mawrygu buddiannau niferus siocled o ran iechyd, ond rhoddodd hefyd y rysáit ysgrifenedig gyntaf ar gyfer siocled i’r byd.

Yn Lloegr, dechreuodd y Tai Coffi gorau weini siocled yn boeth, a dechreuodd rhai mannau werthu dim arall ond y ddiod ragorol hon o India’r Gorllewin.

Yn ddiweddarach yn y ganrif honno, aeth llywydd Coleg Brenhinol Meddygon Lloegr ar ymweliad â Jamaica. Profodd y ddiod siocled a’i farn ef oedd ei bod yn “codi cyfog” arno. Credodd petai’n cael ei gymysgu â mymryn o laeth, i’w wanio ychydig, efallai y byddai’n haws ei stumogi, a dyna ddechreuadau siocled llaeth, mae’n debyg.

Ledled Ewrop, roedd pobl yn dechrau yfed siocled ac yn ei wella.  Yn yr Iseldiroedd yn 1828, dyfeisiwyd proses i wahanu menyn coco o bowdwr coco. Mae’r powdwr coco gymaint yn haws ei gymysgu â dŵr a llaeth.

Mae’r powdwr coco a grëwyd yn yr Iseldiroedd yn eithaf tebyg i’r siocled yfed parod rydym yn ei ddefnyddio heddiw.

Erbyn hyn, mae amrywiaethau rhyngwladol siocled poeth mor amrywiol â’r gwledydd eu hunain.