The oldest records of the use of cocoa beans can be found between 1100 and 1400 BC in South America. They were probably used by the Mayans and Aztecs to make a fermented drink and later on to make a chocolate drink. The beans are also believed to have been used as a form of currency.
For Europeans, the history of chocolate begins in 1502 with Christopher Columbus.
- 1502: When landing on the island of Guanaja, indigenous people coming to meet Christopher Columbus offered him cocoa beans in exchange for a few gifts. In response to the confusion of the Europeans, the head of the indigenous people had a chocolate drink prepared for them. Christopher Columbus tasted it, did not like it and forgot about these beans.
- 1519: In Mexico, Cortes is offered a local drink made from cocoa beans as a welcome gift.
- 1528: Cortes brings chocolate to King Charles V of Spain
- 1559: After its introduction in the Netherlands, the chocolate beans arrived in the Italian Piedmont thanks to Duke Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy
- 1585: Beginning of commercial cocoa imports between Veracruz and Seville
- 1609: A group of Jewish chocolate makers forced out of the Iberian Peninsula settled in Bayonne and founded the main French chocolate production center.
- 1615: Chocolate is introduced to the French court by Anne of Austria, daughter of King Philip III of Spain and married to Louis XIII
- 1657: The first "chocolate house" is opened in London, it is a popular establishment run by a Frenchman whose name has been forgotten by history.
- 1728: The first industrial chocolate factory is created in Bristol. It is run on hydraulic power
- 1770: First industrial chocolate factory in France Pelletier & Cie
- 1780: First mechanical chocolate factory in Bayonne and in the United States (opened by James Baker)
- 1819: Creation of Cailler, the oldest Swiss chocolate brand.
- 1828: Invention of chocolate powder by the Dutch Conrad Van Houten
- 1830: Invention of hazelnut chocolate by Charles-Amédée Kohler
- 1847: First "chewable" chocolate bar invented in Bristol by the Englishman Joseph Fry (1)
- 1875: Invention of milk chocolate by Daniel Peter thanks to powdered milk invented by Henri Nestlé in 1866
- 1879: Rodolphe Lindt invents the conching technique that gives the texture and taste of "modern" chocolate.
- (1) Jospeh Fry and chocolate in bars on echos.fr
- Crazy about chocolate
Thanks to all those who helped us to summarize the history of chocolate