Would you rather eat your chocolate, or drink it?
Would you rather eat your chocolate, or drink it? (Thinkstock)
Would you rather eat your chocolate, or drink it?
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When most of us hear the word chocolate, we picture a candy bar, a box of bonbons or an Easter bunny. And the verb that comes to mind on consuming chocolate is probably "eat," not "drink." And the adjective used to describe it would be "sweet."

But in fact, for about 90 percent of its long history, chocolate was a beverage, and no one would have called it sweet.

Its the best-known food that nobody knows anything about," says Alexandra Leaf, a self-described "chocolate educator" who runs a business called Chocolate Tours of New York City.

Experts use the term "cacao" to refer to the plant from which chocolatethe foodis made. Scientists trace the origin of the word "chocolate" to the Aztec word xocoatl," which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. Many modern historians have estimated that chocolate has been around for about 2,000 years or even longer.

It's hard to pin down exactly when chocolate was born, but it's clear that it was cherished from the start. For several centuries in pre-modern Latin America, cacao beans were considered valuable enough to use as currency. One bean could be traded for a tamale, while 100 beans could purchase a good turkey hen, according to a 16th-century Aztec document. Both the Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical properties.

Sweetened chocolate didn't appear until Europeans discovered the Americas and sampled the native cuisine. Legend has it that the Aztec king Montezuma welcomed the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes with a banquet that included drinking chocolate.

By the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink throughout Europe, believed to have nutritious and medicinal benefits. But it remained largely a privilege of the rich until the late 1700s, when it became mass-produced. In 1828, a Dutch chemist found a way to make powdered chocolate, and the first chocolate bar was created in 1847. By 1868, the chocolate company Cadbury was marketing boxes of chocolate candies throughout England.

In America, chocolate was so valued during the Revolutionary War that it was included in soldiers' rations and used as wages. Today chocolate manufacturing is a more than $4 billion industry in the United States, and the average American eats at least half a pound of the stuff per month.

In the 20th century, the word "chocolate" expanded to include a range of affordable treats with more sugar and additives than actual cacao in them. But more recently, there's been a "chocolate revolution," Leaf says, fueled by an increasing interest in high-quality, handmade chocolates and sustainable, effective cacao farming and harvesting methods. Major corporations like Hershey's have expanded their artisanal chocolate lines by purchasing smaller producers known for premium chocolates, such as Scharffen Berger and Dagoba, while independent chocolatiers continue to flourish as well.

"I see more and more American artisans doing incredible things with chocolate," Leaf says. "Although, I admit that I tend to look at the world through cocoa-tinted glasses."

Critical thinking challenge: How did mass production allow more people to enjoy chocolate?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/would-you-rather-eat-your-chocolate-or-drink-it/

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COMMENTS (95)
  • cristinal-Koc
    2/09/2015 - 02:38 a.m.

    I actually didn't know that chocolate was a drink at first and not candy. I already knew a little about how chocolate back then was spice and not sweet like it is today. There's lots of chocolate candy bars and not a lot of chocolate drinks, so it would be nice if companies started making more chocolate drinks. I recently found out a few months ago that there's chocolate whine, and I'm excited to try it when I grow up. Other than that I'm a big fan of chocolate and I would like to try more chocolate foods, drinking or eating.

  • NW2000Bball
    2/09/2015 - 08:46 a.m.

    I would rather eat my chocolate. It feels weird if I was to drink my chocolate, even though I drink chocolate milk. I just think its different.

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    2/09/2015 - 09:23 a.m.

    That is quite odd that chocolate used to be referred to as a drink, but it somewhat makes sense and I wouldn't be obliged to try it. It is interesting to learn about things like this.

  • brianp-Che
    2/09/2015 - 11:51 a.m.

    chocolate has been around for a very longtime and its been cherished from the start. The Aztecs and Mayans believed it had magical powers. I would definetly drink chocolate, at least depending on what kind of chocolate because if its hershey than yes i would.

  • lm2000food
    2/09/2015 - 01:03 p.m.

    I think I would rather eat chocolate instead of drinking it because I feel that it is better the consume and object rather than drinking it.

  • Damikus123
    2/09/2015 - 01:06 p.m.

    Critical Thinking Challenge:How did mass production allow more people to enjoy chocolate? I think that since chocolate went international it allowed chocolate to be enjoyed around the world.

  • MadisonSch
    2/09/2015 - 01:29 p.m.

    I would rather eat my chocolate than drink it. If I wanted to drink chocolate I could get chocolate milk. I would choose to eat chocolate then drink it any day.

  • ratiaira
    2/09/2015 - 01:29 p.m.

    I would rather eat the chocolate because then I can savor it but if I drink the chocolate I wouldn't have the same feel to it I can not wait till valentines day

  • EmmaBender
    2/09/2015 - 01:30 p.m.

    I think it would be better just to eat chocolate. I wouldn't really agree on drinking it because it would probably make me feel sick.

  • Ashleypatt
    2/09/2015 - 01:30 p.m.

    I would not want to drink my chocolate candy at all. I think eating it lets the person enjoy much better then drinking it. Also i wouldn't think it would change the same at all. To me I like to bite into the candy and in the middle have something running out of it. It makes the candy more tasty.

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