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Chocolate History

Chocolate production and consumption is presently very much based in the 'Western world'. However the history of chocolate tells us that chocolate has it roots very much in the ancient worlds and cultures of the Americas.

For hundreds of years, the chocolate making process remained unchanged. When the Industrial Revolution arrived, many changes occurred that brought the hard, sweet candy to life. In the 18th century, mechanical mills were created that squeezed out cocoa butter, which in turn helped to create hard, durable chocolate. But, it was not until the arrival of the Industrial Revolution that these mills were put to bigger use. Not long after the revolution cooled down, companies began advertising this new invention to sell many of the chocolate treats seen today. When new machines were produced, people began experiencing and consuming chocolate worldwide.
Although cocoa is originally from the Americas, today Western Africa produces almost two-thirds of the world's cocoa, with Côte d'Ivoire growing almost half of it...


The origins of the word "chocolate" probably comes from the Classical Nahuatl word xocolatl (meaning "bitter water"), and entered the English language from Spanish.[5]
How the word "chocolate" came into Spanish is not certain. Perhaps the most cited explanation is that "chocolate" comes from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, from the word "chocolatl", which many sources derived from the Nahuatl word "xocolatl" (pronounced [ ?o'kola?t?]) made up from the words "xococ" meaning sour or bitter,[6] and "atl" meaning water or drink.[5]
However, as William Bright noted[7] the word "chocolatl" doesn't occur in central Mexican colonial sources making this an unlikely derivation. Santamaria[8] gives a derivation from the Yucatec Maya word "chokol" meaning hot, and the Nahuatl "atl" meaning water. More recently Dakin and Wichman derive it from another Nahuatl term, "chicolatl" from Eastern Nahuatl meaning "beaten drink".[9] They derive this term from the word for the frothing stick, "chicoli". The word xocoatl means beverage of maize.[10] The words "cacaua atl" mean drink of cacao.[10] The word "xocolatl" does not appear in Molina's dictionary.[10]


Event's went full circle when English colonists carried chocolate (and coffee) with them to England's colonies in North America. Destined to become the United States of America and Canada, they are now the worlds largest consumers - by far - of both Chocolate and Coffee, consuming over half of the words total production of chocolate alone.


The Quakers were, and still are, a pacifist religious sect, an offshoot of the Puritans of English Civil War and Pilgrim Fathers fame and a history of chocolate would not be complete without mentioning their part in it. Some of the most famous names in chocolate were Quakers, who for centuries held a virtual monopoly of chocolate making in the English speaking world - Fry, Cadbury and Rowntree are probably the best known.

It's probably before the time of the English civil war between Parliament and King Charles 1st, that the Quaker's, who evolved from the Puritans, first began their historic association with Chocolate. Because of their pacifist religion, they were prohibited from many normal business activities, so as an industrious people with a strong belief in the work ethic (like the puritans), they involved themselves in food related businesses and did very well. Baking was a common occupation for them because bread was regarded as the biblical "Staff Of Life", and Bakers in England were the first to add chocolate to cakes so it would be a natural progression for them to start making pure chocolate. They were also heavily involved in breakfast cereals but that's another story.

What is certain is that the Fry, Rowntree and Cadbury families in England among others, began chocolate making and in fact Joseph Fry of Fry & Sons (founded 1728 in Bristol, England) is credited with producing and selling the worlds first chocolate bar. Fry's have now all but disappeared (taken over by Cadbury) and Rowntree have merged Swiss company Nestle, to form the largest chocolate manufacturer in the world. Cadbury have stayed with chocolate production and are now, if not quite the largest, probably one of the best known Chocolate makers in the world.

From their earliest beginnings in business the Quakers were noted for their enlightened treatment of their employees, providing not just employment but everything needed for workers to better themselves such as good housing etc. In fact, Cadbury built a large town for their employees around their factory near Birmingham, England. Complete with libraries, schools, shops and Churches etc, they called it Bourneville. So next time you see Cadbury's chocolate with the name Bournville on it you will know where it comes from and what the name relates to.


The first mention of chocolate being eaten in solid form is when bakers in England began adding cocoa powder to cakes in the mid 1600's. Then in 1828 a Dutch chemist, Johannes Van Houten, invented a method of extracting the bitter tasting fat or "cocoa butter" from the roasted ground beans, his aim was to make the drink smoother and more palatable, however he unknowingly paved the way for solid chocolate as we know it.

Chocolate as we know it today first appeared in 1847 when Fry & Sons of Bristol, England - mixed Sugar with Cocoa Powder and Cocoa Butter (made by the Van Houten process) to produce the first solid chocolate bar then, in 1875 a Swiss manufacturer, Daniel Peters, found a way to combine (some would say improve, some would say ruin) cocoa powder and cocoa butter with sugar and dried milk powder to produce the first milk chocolate.

and the rest, is history, Chocolate History....

“There always seems to be someone looking over your shoulder - just waiting for an opportunity to lecture on The Darker Side of Chocolate". - Sandra Boynton, (humorist, songwriter, children's author)


Chocolate as we know it today was largely made possible by three events:

In 1828, Dutch chemist Johannes Van Houten, invented a method of extracting the fat or "cocoa butter" from ground cocoa beans. The resulting 'cocoa' powder was much less bitter tasting and, when combined with sugar or honey, made a drink much more palatable to our taste.
This process known as the Van Houten process made it possible for Fry & Sons of Bristol, England to manufacture and sell the first solid chocolate bar in 1847.

In 1875 a Swiss manufacturer, Daniel Peters also used the Van Houten process to successfully combine chocolate with powdered milk to produce the first milk chocolate.

Chocolate history starts out in Latin America, where cacao trees grow wild. The first people to use chocolate were probably the Olmec of what is today southeast Mexico. They lived in the area around 1000 BC, and their word, “kakawa,” gave us our word “cacao.” Unfortunately, that’s all we know. We don’t know how (or even if) the Olmec actually used chocolate.

We do know, however, that the Maya, who inhabited the same general area a thousand years later (from about 250-900 AD), did use chocolate. A lot. And not just internally. It is with the Maya that chocolate history really begins.

The cacao beans were used as currency. 10 beans would buy you a rabbit or a prostitute. 100 beans would buy you a slave. Some clever person even came up with a way to counterfeit beans – by carving them out of clay. The beans were still used as currency in parts of Latin America until the 19th century!

The Maya also used chocolate in religious rituals; it sometimes took the place of blood. Chocolate was used in marriage ceremonies, where it was exchanged by the bride and groom, (I think I will have to revive this tradition), and in baptisms. They even had a cacao god.

But the Maya prepared chocolate strictly for drinking. Chocolate history doesn’t include solid chocolate until the 1850s. Except for that, the way the Maya prepared chocolate wasn’t too much different from the way it’s prepared today. First, the beans were harvested, fermented, and dried. The beans were then roasted and the shells removed, and the rest was ground into a paste. The paste was mixed with hot water and spices, such as chili, vanilla, annatto, allspice, honey, and flowers. Then the mixture was frothed by pouring it back and forth between two containers. The Maya thought the froth was one of the best parts. Chocolate was also mixed with corn and water to make a sort of gruel. It was probably similar to the chocolate and corn drink pinole, still enjoyed in Latin America today.

If dollar bills were edible, would you eat them? Probably not, unless you had some to spare. The same was true of the Maya – usually only the rich drank much chocolate, although working folks probably enjoyed chocolate every now and then too. The rich enjoyed drinking their chocolate from elaborately painted chocolate vessels. Emperors were buried with jars of chocolate at their side. Clearly, they wanted to make chocolate history themselves.

So it’s no surprise that when the Aztecs conquered the Maya, they kept the chocolate tradition alive. From about 1200-1500, the Aztecs dominated the region and continued using cacao as currency. Because cacao could not grow in the capital city, Tenochitlan (where Mexico City is today), it had to be imported through trading and, what else? Taxes!

The Aztec drank their chocolate much like the Maya, although they sometimes liked it cold. One chocolate history legend has it that the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl brought cacao to earth and was cast out of paradise for giving it to man. Only the Gods were fit to drink chocolate!

In 1502, Columbus and his son, Ferdinand, were in the area, doing the usual conquering and such, when they came across a dugout canoe laden with supplies. They promptly captured it and ordered the natives to carry the loot on board their ship. In the process, somebody spilled some cacao, and the natives ran for the beans “as if an eye had fallen from their heads,” according to Ferdinand. Columbus could have been known as the first white guy to “discover” chocolate, but he blew his chance to make chocolate history by forgetting all about the incident.

In 1519, Cortez and his cronies arrived in the Aztec capital, where cacao trading was in full force, and Montezuma, the Aztec ruler, was rumored to have a billion beans in storage. They tried chocolate, hated it, and one writer eloquently called it “more a drink for pigs than a drink for humanity.” Without sugar, cacao was fairly bitter.

After Cortez and pals conquered the Aztecs, they kept right on using cacao as currency. By this time a rabbit cost 30 cacao beans. Must have been inflation. But chocolate history would soon change forever, because Cortez also kept right on conquering other people. Conveniently, the Spanish had taken over lots of Caribbean islands. And on those islands was sugar. Next thing you know, somebody put sugar in chocolate and everybody was clamoring for the stuff.

Chocolate History in Church

For a while, the Spaniards kept the chocolate secret to themselves. And when chocolate first made it to Spain, it was considered a health food and a medicine. Doctors prescribed it for curing fevers, cooling the body, aiding in digestion, and alleviating pain. The church also approved it as a nutritional supplement to take while fasting. (That might have been a bad choice, as one bishop was poisoned for refusing to allow his parishioners to bring chocolate to mass.)

None of that lasted long. Chocolate was too good to be reserved for medicine only. Plus, it was the first caffeine to reach Europe, beating out coffee and tea by a few years. Chocolate doesn’t have much caffeine, but when you’ve never had the stuff, less is more. Other than adding sugar, little had changed in the preparation of chocolate, although the Spaniards frothed theirs by using a little stick called a molinillo, which you would place between your palms and whirl to create the froth.

Chocolate soon made its way to the rest of Europe. Well, the rest of the rich people in Europe, that is. It was a big hit in Louis XIV’s court. In 1657, the first chocolate house opened in London. You could go to the chocolate house, have a drink, play some cards, talk politics, that sort of thing. (Interestingly, Mars is trying to open a new chapter in the chocolate history books by reviving the chocolate house tradition. They’ve opened Ethel M’s, an upscale chocolate boutique designed for hanging out.) Eventually, cinnamon and milk found their way into the mix.

As chocolate spread through Europe, the demand took off. To keep up with the demand, plantations sprung up, and thousands of people were enslaved to produce cacao. Rather than rely on the Spanish, the British, the Dutch, and the French started their own plantations, taking cacao out of Central America and planting it in their own territories – Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Java, Sumatra, the West Indies, and Africa. Up until this point, most chocolate was made from a variety of cacao called criollo. But because forastero beans are easier to grow (never mind that they don’t taste as good), they were the ones that got shipped ’round the globe, marking another turning point in chocolate history. Today, 90% of cacao is forastero.

As the supply increased, prices went down, and chocolate became increasingly available to the little guy. And when the little guy got a hold of it, chocolate history really took off. Like in the early 1800s when Coenraad Van Houten, a Dutchman, created the cocoa press, which smushed the beans and expelled the cocoa butter (fat), leaving just the cocoa behind. He also came up with a way to wash the cocoa in an alkali solution (hence “Dutch” cocoa) to make it easier to mix with water. Who hasn’t had the experience of cocoa globbing up on their spoon?

Chocolate History Firms Up

In the 1850s, Englishman Joseph Fry changed my life by adding more cocoa butter, rather than hot water, to cocoa powder and sugar. The world’s first solid chocolate was born.

In 1875, Daniel Peter and Henri Nestle added condensed milk to solid chocolate, creating a milk chocolate bar.

In 1879, Swiss chap Rudolphe Lindt invented the conch, a machine that rotated and mixed chocolate to a perfectly smooth consistency.

By 1907, Milton Hershey’s factory was spitting out 33 million kisses per day.

Advertising and World Wars (where soldiers got chocolate as part of their rations) just kept increasing the popularity of the stuff. Today, over 3 billion tons of cacao supplies a 35 billion dollar chocolate industry.

The History of Chocolate
[Jack Weatherford's history of Chocolate]
For many millennia Cacao grew in the understory of the tropical rainforest the northern Amazon basin. Together with the plethora of plants, animals and insects of the rainforest, it thrived in the shade on the forest floor and lived on the nutrients and water passed down from the canopy above.

The history of this this popular plant's use is somewhat clouded by numerous wildly conflicting stories. The myths, legends, propaganda and inaccuracies in the history of Chocolate are profound. Especially suspect are the manufacturers websites!! I have tried to discard the sloppy and biased stories that are clearly inaccurate, but that still leaves some questions!

Cacao has been a cultivated crop for at least 3,000 years, probably quite a bit more. Before that it is certain that the seeds of wild Cacao trees were gathered. Initially a few Cacao trees would be planted just inside the heavy rainforest, mixed with both wild and cultivated understory plants. Eventually that grew to more specific plots of Cacao, still under the canopy and within the rainforest.

The people who first utilized Cacao were the inhabitants of what is now Venezuela in northwestern South America, where the tree is native. I strongly suspect that they created Cacao as we know it, just as the Inca created the potato using their rather advanced genetic technology. (Most high production food plants, certainly including Potatoes, Squash, Maize (corn) and Bananas, were engineered over many generations by the natives of their respective areas to produce large and plentiful fruit.) The Olmec Civilization (3500 to 2500 years ago) consumed the beverage and it was used to fortify soldiers during marches and in battle.

Cacao was clearly highly valued by these people and they spread it northward through trade with their neighbors. It was probably the Maya, over 1500 years ago, who brought Cacao to Yucatan in what is now Mexico. Maya urns were often decorated with images of Cacao Pods. The Aztecs who got Cacao from the Maya, used Cacao in a number of ways, one common way was as a bitter spice in food (such as today's Molé sauce). The common people often used Cacao as a spice, and possibly also as a base for pasta or bread.

The most well known way that Cacao was used (and the way that made the deepest impression on the European conquerors) was as a drink. The beans were toasted, ground up, put in hot water and often a bit of maize, vanilla or chilies were added to create the beverage of the Emperor. The water had to be extremely hot for the mixture to work, and from that came the phrase, still used in Mexico, Like Water for Chocolate to mean as hot as anything you can imagine. It seems likely that consumption of this drink was limited to nobility, priesthood, and ritual occasions. (Mixtecs and Oaxaca used it in marriage rites of nobles and deities.) While the Maya drank Chocolate hot, the Aztecs seem to have ofen taken it cold. The term 'food of the gods', (the origin of the genus name Theobroma) is not Aztec, nor Maya, it was coined by a European in the 17th century!

It is well known that Cacao Seeds were valued so highly throughout Mesoamerica that they were used for centuries as currency. (One clearly intoxicated writer, who i will NOT cite, actually made the assertion that the Mesoamericans used the seeds simply as currency with no idea whatsoever that they could be used as a food product; his ridiculous suggestion was that it took White Europeans to figure out how to use it!!!!)

The Aztecs called the drink, and apparently the bean as well, Xocoatl. From this word comes the pan-European word Chocolate. (I have seen a reference of questionable dependability which suggested that "xocoatl" meant "foam in water", and therefore referred to the drink, not the plant.) The word Cacao comes from comes from the Mayan word for the plant was "Cacau". Because of a spelling error, probably by English traders long ago, these beans became known as Cocoa beans.

When Europeans first made contact with the Aztec civilization, Cacao was being cultivated and used extensively. The Spanish Conquistadors quickly noticed the benefits of Chocolate and used it to keep their armies marching long distances with little food. From the Aztecs the Spanish took it to Europe -- where it became part of the then European-wide Imperial quest for more drugs for the polite high society, competing with the British tea and opium, the catholic countries' coffee and the young USA's tobacco.

Jack Weatherford has an excellent history of Chocolate in his superb book Indian Givers! Which i recommend highly. I have posted an excerpt here.
There is a great deal of differing information about the arrival of Cacao in Europe. Some sources say that Columbus himself brought the first beans, others say it was Cortes, and a whole list of others have their supporters. Actually Columbus never showed much interest in the beans that he thought were sheep turds. (He actually burned an entire cargo of Cacao for this reason.) In any case, although almost every country claims to have been the first in Europe to utilize Chocolate, clearly the Spanish were first. I have seen the improbable suggestion that Spain kept it a secret for 100 years, however it does strike me as possible that it took that long to generate European interest in the strange bitter confection.

Initially (in the 1500s), Europeans, primarily the Spanish, were put off by the drink's traditional spicy bitter flavor so they so they began adding European (and recent American import) flavorings to Chocolate, such as vanilla, cinnamon, black pepper and, of course, cane sugar.

Chocolate was widely used in Catholic countries after 1569 when Pope Pius V declared that Chocolate (the drink) did not break the fast -- despite the hearty nutritional aspects of Chocolate. Every Pope for 190 years after him, from Gregory XIII to Benedict XIV affirmed this decision -- the popes loved Chocolate. It became a popular way to nourish oneself on the many religious fast days. This may have reached it's climax when Pope Clement XIV was killed with a cup of poisoned Chocolate in 1774!

By the middle of the 1600s, Chocolate houses had opened in Europe; this is before coffee houses started up. Chocolate Houses became social clubs, meeting places for the elite, places to visit and to talk politics. It was trendy and extremely expensive. Coffee was much cheaper and therefore not for the elite, but for the masses. Coffee houses inherited the popularity, the community and the political atmosphere from Chocolate houses when the invention of the Dutch press removed the narcotic effect. The coffee house culture went on to incubate the democratic political movements of the 18th & 19th centruies.

The drink was foamed, not using the Aztec method of pouring it from one cup into another, but using a molinillo, a wooden whisk-like tool that is twirled between the palms of the hands. (I don't speak any Latin language, but this word is almost identical to the Italian word for mill, i think there .) This is commonly used today to foam Chocolate drinks in Mexico. Machine-made Chocolate was first produced in Barcelona 1780.

As Chocolate spread out of Spain, Hapsburg possessions remained at the forefront of Chocolate manufacturing and use, this included Austria and the Spanish Netherlands (which are today Holland and, the world center for Chocolate, Belgium!). Hapsburg Emperor Charles VI transferred his court from Madrid to Vienna in 1711 which certainly advanced the use of Chocolate in Austria. However in 1810 one third of the world's entire Cacao production was consumed by Spain. (Venezuela had 50% of world production.) Germany surpassed Spain for the world lead in Chocolate consumption only in 1900!

At this time the way they made the Chocolate drink was to grind the whole bean and add sugar and hot water, it was delicious, mildly intoxicating and somewhat 'Aztec', but apparently too rich and for the European palate. In 1828 the Dutch (Coenraad Van Houten had the patent) developed a press to force about initially 50% and with improvements, 98% of the fat out of Cacao paste -- producing the powder which we are familiar with today. The powder was then mixed with milk, instead of water, to add a little fat, but not nearly as much as was removed. (3% vs. 54%!) The pressing process also produced a major commercially viable by-product: Cocoa Butter!

Twenty years later at the Joseph Fry factory, they discovered a way to mix melted Cocoa Butter back into Dutch powder to create a gooey mass which could be molded: the first bar Chocolate. In 1875 two Swiss men, Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé used the sweetened condensed milk they had developed for concentrated infant food formula in to create milk-chocolate. The low water content of the milk made it possible to mix it with the Chocolate into a bar that did not spoil quickly. Rudolphe Lindt developed the conching process in Switzerland in 1879, producing for the first time, smooth creamy Chocolate bars like we are familiar with today.

The New World, Mexico and Costa Rica, but primarily Venezuela, was the main supplier of Cacao until the start of the 20th century when the center of cultivation moved first to the Caribbean and then to Africa (with some also in Asia). In the late 19th century major companies started growing Cacao on large plantations, generally clearing rainforest to provide open land. It was at this time that the extremely low pollination rate of Cacao (1 in 3000) was noticed, but no one paid any attention to it. You will still find scientific sources which suggest this was a natural phenomenon, when in fact, moving Cacao from the rainforest to plantations took it farther away from it's pollinating midges' habitat.

Many of the companies that started making Chocolate in the late 19th century, including Hersheys & Cadbury, were based on religious ideals of abstaining from alcohol -- Chocolate was seen as an acceptable substitute!

There are various suggestions of when Chocolate was introduced into the USA, ranging from the early 1700s to the late 1800s. I suspect it was earlier, rather than later due to the proximity to the plantations. In 1900 Milton Snavely Hershey, a Mennonite from Pennsylvania, began producing milk-chocolate bars and "kisses" with great success. He was anti-alchohol (As was Cadbury & Fry) and saw Chocolate as a good, profitiable alternitave. In less than ten years he was able to buy two entire towns and name them after him, one previously called Derry Church, Pennsylvania, and the other in Cuba, around his sugar mill! The empire grew even larger during World War I, when Milton Hershey encouraged the US Army to add four Hershey bars to each soldiers daily ration!

This completed the sequence that took Chocolate from the divine food of Emperors, through the European Imperial quest for monopolies on mild drugs for high society, into respectability and common usage and finally to candy. Not unlike coca, which followed much the same course through the shady time of patent medicines such as the original colas, through to the time of prohibition to inclusion, at one time, in today's favorite candy-drink Coca Cola!

Chocolate remained popular in Europe, and after World War II many Belgian and French Chocolatiers specialized making fine, high grade Chocolate. Eventually, in 1994, the Chocolate war. established standards and started the huge wave of pure Chocolate Bars made of 70% or more, Cacao.The Mayan

Why do we call it chocolate? The word chocolate is said to derive from the Mayan xocolatl which meant bitter water. Cocoa comes from the Aztec cacahuatl. The Mexican Indian word chocolate comes from a combination of the terms choco (foam) and atl (water) because for centuries early chocolate was only consumed as a drink.
The Maya harvested cocoa beans from the rain forest trees then later cleared areas of the forest to make way for the first known cocoa plantations. The Mayan knew a good thing when they saw it and worshiped the cocoa bean as an idol. The merchant god, Ek Chuah, was closely linked with cocoa and the beans were used as currency. Early explorers to the region found that four cocoa beans could get you a pumpkin, 10 a rabbit and 100 would buy you a slave. Cocoa beans also formed the basis of a drink; xocolatl was a rather bitter little potion made from roasted cocoa beans, water and spices. Cocoa's soothing qualities were also discovered early on and it was used for the treatment of coughs, fever and even discomfort during pregnancy.

Maya farmers traded their cocoa beans at market but wealthy merchants traveled further afield, some as far as Mexico, the land of the Aztecs…

The Aztecs

The Aztecs also held the cocoa bean in high esteem, and their delightful story about its origins involves their creator and god of agriculture, Questzalcoatl. They believed he traveled to earth on a beam of the morning star carrying a cocoa tree from Paradise, and that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the tree.
The Aztecs were an ancient, nomadic people who founded Tenochtitlan; a vast city in the Valley of Mexico in 1325. Because of their dry climate the Aztecs were unable to grow cocoa trees themselves so they had to obtain supplies of cocoa beans from trade or 'tribute'. This was a form of taxation paid by the tribes they conquered.

Like the Maya, the Aztecs also consumed large quantities of xocolatl as a luxury drink. However their version was described as 'finely ground, soft, foamy, reddish, bitter with chili water, aromatic flowers, vanilla and wild bee honey,' - slightly more inviting than the Maya concoction!

The Aztecs also used the cocoa bean for currency and by the time the Spanish invaded Mexico in the 16th century the Aztecs had created a powerful empire. In 1523, they offered cocoa beans to Don Cortés.

Cortés tasted chocolate prepared by the Aztecs and learned how to convert the bitter bean into a wonderful drink. He brought this treasure back to Spain where the origin and preparation method remained a secret for nearly 100 years.

The Discovery

Christopher Columbus - Despite being the first European to discover cocoa beans on his fourth voyage to America in 1502, Columbus virtually dismissed his findings. (Granted, he was more interested in searching for a sea route to India at the time). By traveling without an interpreter he had no way of knowing that the beans he held in his hand were used as money nor that they were the basis of a highly revered drink. When he returned to Europe with a handful of beans they were overlooked in favor of the other treasures he brought back from his travels. So all the glory was left to a Spanish conqueror.
Christopher Columbus was the first European to come in contact with cacao. On August 15, 1502, on his fourth and last voyage to the Americas, Columbus and his crew encountered a large dugout canoe near an island off the coast of what is now Honduras. The canoe was the largest native vessel the Spaniards had seen. It was "as long as a galley," and was filled with local goods for trade -- including cacao beans. Columbus had his crew seize the vessel and its goods, and retained its skipper as his guide.
Later, Columbus' son Ferdinand wrote about the encounter. He was struck by how much value the Native Americans placed on cacao beans, saying:

"They seemed to hold these almonds [referring to the cacao beans] at a great price; for when they were brought on board ship together with their goods, I observed that when any of these almonds fell, they all stooped to pick it up, as if an eye had fallen."

What Ferdinand and the other members of Columbus' crew didn't know at the time was that cocoa beans were the local currency. In fact, in some parts of Central America, cacao beans were used as currency as recently as the last century.

While it is likely that Columbus brought the cacao beans he seized back to Europe, their potential value was initially overlooked by the Spanish King and his court.


The Spanish

Twenty years later, however, Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez is said to have brought back three chests full of cacao beans. This time the beans were recognized as one treasure among the many stolen from the conquered Aztecs.
Don Cortes discovered Mexico and the Aztec civilization in 1517 and was introduced to chocolatl by the Aztec Emperor Montezuma. Although he wasn't particularly taken with the bitter chocolate drink he was interested in the value of cocoa as a means of payment and established a cocoa plantation to cultivate Spanish 'money'.

During the sixteenth century Spain colonized Central and South America. Cortes was made Captain General and Governor of Mexico. When he returned to Spain in 1528 he loaded his galleons with cocoa beans and chocolate drink making equipment and it wasn't long before chocolate began working its magic on the Spanish.

The cocoa beans brought to Spain by Cortes were hidden away in Spanish monasteries where they were processed into the chocolate drink. Its formula was kept a secret and became a fashionable drink which only the wealthy and Spanish nobility could afford to enjoy. It took nearly a century for the news of cocoa and chocolate to spread across Europe. With the decline of Spain as a power, the secret of cocoa leaked out at last. It was an Italian traveler, Antonio Carletti, who discovered the chocolate treasure in 1606 and took it to other parts of Europe.

Within a few years the knowledge of chocolate spread through France, Britain, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy - several of these nations established their own cocoa plantations, effectively bringing an end to Spain's monopoly of the chocolate trade.

The Europeans

Not everyone was eager to accept the mysterious new drink so readily though. At first the French were suspicious of this new drink and considered it a dangerous drug! Although there are several theories the most likely is that it took Spanish royalty to save the day. A Spanish Princess, Anne of Austria, married into the French Court and introduced drinking chocolate as a fashionable past time. By the mid-1600s, the chocolate drink had gained widespread popularity in France and an enterprising Frenchman opened the first chocolate house in London.
In France, chocolate was met with skepticism and was considered a "barbarous product and noxious drug". The French court was doubtful and accepted it only after the Paris faculty of medicine gave its approval. A French queen finally saved the day. In 1615, Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII declared chocolate as the drink of the French court.

During the early seventeenth century, chocolate found its way to Italy and England, among other European countries. In 1650, chocolate became the rage in Oxford and in 1657, a shop called the The Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll opened in London. Although chocolate was not featured, the drink quickly became a best seller. As the popularity of chocolate grew, England imposed an excessive duty of 10-15 shillings per pound. By the way, the duty was comparable to approximately three-fourths its weight in gold. It took almost 200 years before the duty was dropped.

The first chocolate house was reputedly opened in London in 1657 by an unnamed Frenchman. Costing 6 to 8 shillings per pound (about 34p), chocolate was considered a beverage for the elite class. By the 1700s, chocolate houses were as prominent as coffee houses in England and there was a chocolate house for every type of clientele: politicians, gamblers, literati and the beautiful people - White's Chocolate House in St James's Street became one of the most popular meeting places for men and women. Charles II tried unsuccessfully to suppress these establishments which he considered 'hotbeds of sedition'. However, in the mid-nineteenth century the chocolate houses were transformed into more respectable 'clubs for gentlemen'. Several still exist today around Pall Mall including the famous White's. At this time chocolate was still being prepared by hand and another very different group of people were also taking an interest in it…

For bringing us closer to chocolate as we know it today we have the Dutch to thank. The invention of the cocoa press in 1828 by C. J. Van Houten, a Dutch chocolate master, helped reduce the price of chocolate and bring it to the masses. Coenraad Johannes Van Houten, a Dutch chemist and chocolate manufacturer invented a hydraulic press in 1828 which extracted cocoa oil. The dry residue left from this process simply needed to be crushed to produce a fine cocoa powder. The invention of this press helped to cut prices and along with the Quakers' efforts to bring chocolate to the people, succeeded in spreading its popularity among a wider audience.

Some of England's most successful entrepreneurs during the Industrial Revolution belonged to a group of people known as The Society of Friends, or more commonly, the Quakers. Due to their radical beliefs, the Quakers were alienated from many of the mainstream professions of the time including politics, law and medicine. Many of the large Quaker families channeled their energy into business and commerce, and one of the most progressive commodities at the time to invest in was cocoa.

A one man business opened in 1824 by a young Quaker, John Cadbury, in Bull Street Birmingham was to be the foundation of Cadbury Limited, now one of the world's largest producers of chocolate.

By 1831 the business had changed from a grocery shop and John Cadbury had become a manufacturer of drinking chocolate and cocoa. This was the start of the Cadbury manufacturing business as it is known today. A larger factory in Bridge Street Birmingham was rented in 1847, John Cadbury was joined by his brother Benjamin and the business became Cadbury Brothers of Birmingham.

This partnership dissolved in 1860 and a year later John Cadbury retired leaving his sons Richard and George, the second Cadbury brothers, to continue the business.
1866 saw a turning point for the company with the introduction of a process for pressing the cocoa butter from the cocoa beans. This not only enabled Cadbury Brothers to produce pure cocoa essence, but the plentiful supply of cocoa butter remaining was also used to make new kinds of eating chocolate.

Business prospered from this time and Cadbury Brothers outgrew the Bridge Street factory, moving in 1879 to a 'greenfield' site some miles from the centre of Birmingham which came to be called Bournville. The opening of the Cadbury 'factory in a garden' also heralded a new era in industrial relations and employee welfare with joint consultation being just one of the initiatives introduced by the pioneering Cadbury brothers.

In 1899 the business became a private limited company - Cadbury Brothers Limited. Progress since the start of the century through the inter-war years onwards has been rapid. Chocolate has moved from being a luxury item to being well within the financial reach of everyone.

The story behind many of today's chocolate manufacturers begins with a Quaker family - the Cadburys, the Frys, the Rowntrees and the Terrys - all chose cocoa as the basis for their family businesses. Their aim was to persuade the poor to give up alcohol in favor of the healthier chocolate drink. Because of the persecution the Quakers faced in England thousands migrated to America and settled in the colony of Pennsylvania founded in 1682 by William Penn. By 1864 seven thousand Quakers had settled there including one Milton Hershey and by 1900 the Hershey chocolate factory was up and running.


The American Chocolate Revolution

Despite the cocoa bean originating in the 'New World', chocolate made its debut considerably later in America. The chocolate drink was first introduced in 1765 when John Hanau brought cocoa beans from the West Indies into Dorchester, Massachusetts to refine them with the help of James Baker who opened a processing house from where the chocolate drink began to flow through the States.
In the United States, chocolate was first manufactured in 1765. It was introduced at Milton Lower Mills, near Dorchester, Massachusetts by John Hanau and James Baker who opened a processing house.

With the Industrial Revolution came the mass production of chocolate, spreading its popularity among the people. The heavy import duties which had made chocolate a luxury that only the wealthy could enjoy were reduced in 1853. Chocolate and cocoa became within the reach of the wider population and a number of manufacturers of cocoa and drinking chocolate started in business including Cadbury, Fry's, Nestlé, Lindt and Hershey - all of which are world leaders in chocolate production today.

Ghirardelli Chocolate has a history that dates back to California’s gold rush. A 31 year old, Domenico "Domingo" Ghirardelli, a native of Rapallo, Italy, was the owner of a fairly successful confectionery business in Lima, Peru. However, Domingo had heard of the fabulous riches in gold being found in California, and in 1849 he sailed to California with the intention of striking it rich (and then going back to Peru).

Domingo was out there in the hills and streams doing his best to find his riches, but like a few of the smarter miners he soon found it was much more profitable to sell supplies to other miners. Domingo first opened a store in the boomtown of Hornitos. He was forced to buy supplies for his store in Stockton, at the time the only general merchandise store that was around for miles. Domingo believed that he could open a competing store in Stockton, and make a lot more money, if only he could figure out a way to supply it.

Domingo bought himself a sloop that he used to sail up and down the San Joaquin River, acquiring supplies in San Francisco and then returning with his merchandise to Stockton. Domingo’s first store front was just a tent, but by the end of 1849 he owned a fleet of river sloops, and buildings in both Stockton and San Francisco. He also had some profitable side lines, including grubstaking prospectors in exchange for a share in any gold they might find; he owned a hotel; and he even owned one of California's first soda fountains (more than a decade before the marble fountain was invented). Unfortunately, by 1851 Domingo was starting over again.

On May 3, 1851, a fire swept through San Francisco and destroyed 1500 buildings. Three days later a fire swept through Stockton and destroyed half of that city. In less than a week Domingo lost everything. Domingo first tried opening a coffee shop in San Francisco, but it was a money loser, and he decided to go back into his old trade as a confectioner. He formed a partnership with a man named Girard, and they opened a confectionery store on Kearny and Washington in San Francisco. Domingo then sent for his wife, who was still living in Lima, Peru. Shortly after she arrived Domingo bought out his partner, and renamed his store "Mrs. Ghirardelli & Company."

It was not long before Mr. and Mrs. Ghirardelli were experiencing a good deal of success. They opened a couple of more stores, and eventually opened a chocolate factory at 415-417 Jackson Street. Over the next forty years they would ship chocolate products all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, and even Hawaii. Eventually the Ghirardelli chocolate factory would become among the largest in the western half of North America.

It was a discovery made by a worker at the Ghirardelli factory that propelled Domingo’s chocolate factory to such prominence, and revolutionized chocolate making in the United States. In 1865, a worker put a batch of ground cocoa beans in a cloth bag and hung the bag from a hook overnight. By morning, a pool of cocoa butter had collected on the floor. The ground chocolate left in the bag was almost fat free, creating a dry powder that combined with liquids more smoothly. This powder became the essential ingredient in Ghirardelli's popular Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa. The dripping bags were soon replaced by presses previously invented by an Amsterdam chocolatier, Conrad van Houten, which accomplished the same result in a more controlled way.

Mr. Ghirardelli later purchased an entire block of property on North Point Street in San Francisco, and he and his sons spent the next 11 years transforming the property in to what is now Ghirardelli Square. This is a story in its own right, so we have devoted a page exclusively to Ghirardelli Square.

The Evolution and Economics of Chocolate

A one man business opened in 1824 by a young Quaker, John Cadbury, in Bull Street Birmingham was to be the foundation of Cadbury Limited, now one of the world's largest producers of chocolate.
Coenraad Johannes Van Houten, a Dutch chemist and chocolate manufacturer invented a hydraulic press in 1828 which extracted cocoa oil. The dry residue left from this process simply needed to be crushed to produce a fine cocoa powder. The invention of this press helped to cut prices and along with the Quakers' efforts to bring chocolate to the people, succeeded in spreading its popularity among a wider audience.

1866 saw a turning point for the Cadbury Company with the introduction of a process for pressing the cocoa butter from the cocoa beans. This not only enabled Cadbury Brothers to produce pure cocoa essence, but the plentiful supply of cocoa butter remaining was also used to make new kinds of eating chocolate.

In the mid-1860s Henri Nestlé, a trained pharmacist, began experimenting with various combinations of cow's milk, wheat flour and sugar in an attempt to develop an alternative source of infant nutrition for mothers who were unable to breast feed. His ultimate goal was to help combat the problem of infant mortality due to malnutrition. He called the new product Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé.

Meanwhile, the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company, founded in 1866 by Americans Charles and George Page, broadened its product line in the mid-1870s to include cheese and infant formulas. The Nestlé Company, which had been purchased from Henri Nestlé by Jules Monnerat in 1874, responded by launching a condensed milk product of its own. The two companies remained fierce competitors until their merger in 1905.

The Swiss began making chocolate in the mid 1800's. Switzerland, at the time, had cows but did not have abundant commodities of chocolate and sugar. In 1876, M. Daniel Peter attempted to add milk to chocolate to produce a smoother chocolate. However, adding water to chocolate made the chocolate shrink, separate and generally disintegrate. Milk has water in it, and it took Peter 8 years of experimenting before taking his product to Henry Nestle, a maker of evaporated milk. Nestle had perfected the manufacture of condensed milk, and he and Peter hit upon the idea of mixing sweetened condensed milk with chocolate.

In 1875 Vevey resident Daniel Peter figured out how to combine milk and cocoa powder to create milk chocolate. Peter, a friend and neighbor of Henri Nestlé, started a company that quickly became the world's leading maker of chocolate. For three decades the company called Peter, Cailler, Kohler relied on Nestlé for milk and marketing expertise. In 1929, the almost inevitable merger took place as Nestlé acquired Peter, Cailler, Kohler.

By squeezing out cocoa butter from the beans, Van Houten's "dutching" was an alkalizing process which removed the acidity and bitterness, which is why alkali processed cocoa is also called Dutch chocolate.

Chocolate was available only as cocoa or as a liquid until 1879. It was Rodolphe Lindt who thought to add cocoa butter back to the chocolate. Adding the additional cocoa butter helped the chocolate set up into a bar that "snaps" when broken as well as melting on the tongue.

Milton Hershey moved on to Chicago in 1883, then to New Orleans and later to New York City, attempting to establish his own candy business in each location. He returned to Lancaster, PA, in 1886, where, after raising the necessary capital, he began the business which established his reputation as a candy-maker - the Lancaster Caramel Company.

Mr Hershey became fascinated with German chocolate-making machinery on exhibit at the Chicago International Exposition in 1893. He bought the equipment for his Lancaster plant and soon began producing his own chocolate coatings for caramels.

In early 1894, the Hershey Chocolate Company was born as a subsidiary of his Lancaster caramel business. In addition to chocolate coatings, Mr. Hershey made breakfast cocoa, sweet chocolate and baking chocolate (known today as dark or semi-sweet chocolate).

In 1900, Mr. Hershey sold the Lancaster Caramel Company for $1 million. However, he retained the chocolate manufacturing equipment and the rights to manufacture chocolate, believing a large market existed for affordable confections that could be mass produced. He proceeded to prove his case.

He returned to his birthplace, Derry Church, and located his chocolate manufacturing operation in the heart of Pennsylvania's dairy country, where he could obtain the large supplies of fresh milk needed to make fine milk chocolate. In 1903, with the money he received for his caramel business, he began to build what is now the world's largest chocolate manufacturing plant. It opened in 1905, and Mr. Hershey's great contribution to the American food industry had begun - the mass production of milk chocolate.

It was World War I that really brought attention to the chocolate candies.

The U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps had commissioned various American chocolate manufacturers to provide 20 - 40 pound blocks of chocolate to be shipped to bases in the field. The blocks were chopped up into smaller pieces and distributed to doughboys in Europe. Eventually the task of making smaller pieces was turned back to the manufacturers.

By the end of the War when the doughboys arrived home, the American chocolate business was assured. Why? Because the returning doughboys had grown fond of chocolate candy and now as civilians wanted more of the same.

Meanwhile in Europe in the early 1900s, the Nestlé Company was operating factories in the United States, Britain, Germany and Spain. In 1904, Nestlé added chocolate to its range of food products after reaching an agreement with the Swiss General Chocolate Company.

Most production facilities remained in Europe, however, and the onset of World War I brought severe disruptions. Acquiring raw materials and distributing products became increasingly difficult. Fresh-milk shortages throughout Europe forced factories to sell almost all their supplies to meet the needs of local towns.

Nevertheless, the war created tremendous new demand for dairy products, largely in the form of government contracts. To keep up, Nestlé purchased several existing factories in the United States. By war's end, the Company had 40 factories, and its world production had more than doubled since 1914.

A Brief History of the American Candy Bar

The early eating bars of chocolate were made of bittersweet chocolate. Milk chocolate was introduced in 1875 when Henry Nestle, a maker of evaporated milk and Daniel Peter, a chocolate maker, got together and invented milk chocolate, which today is preferred by 80% of the world's population.
At the 1893 Colombian Exposition, a World's Fair held in Chicago, chocolate-making machinery made in Dresden, Germany, was displayed. It caught the eye of Milton S. Hershey, who had made his fortune in caramels, saw the potential for chocolate. He installed chocolate machinery in his factory in Lancaster, and produced his first chocolate bars in 1894.

Other Americans began mixing in other ingredients to make up new candy bars throughout the end of the 1890's and the early 1900's. But it was World War I that really brought attention to the candy bar.

The U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps commissioned various American chocolate manufacturers to provide 20 to 40 pound blocks of chocolate to be shipped to quartermaster bases. The blocks were chopped up into smaller pieces and distributed to doughboys in Europe. Eventually the task of making smaller pieces was turned back to the manufacturers. By the end of the war when the doughboys arrived home, the American candy bar business was assured. Why? Because the returning doughboys had grown fond of chocolate candy and now as civilians wanted more of the same. As a result, from that time on and through the 1920s, candy bar manufacturers became established throughout the United States, and as many as 40,000 different candy bars appeared on the scene. The Twenties became the decade that among other things, was the high point of the candy bar industry.

The original candy bar industry had its start on the eastern seaboard in such cities as Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. The industry soon spread to the Midwest, because shipping and raw materials such as sugar, corn syrup, and milk were easily available. Chicago became the seat of the candy bar industry and is even today an important base.

Definitions of terms

Bittersweet Chocolate
Bars which fall in the the middle ground between candy and Chocolate, 25% to 50% Cacao content.

(also Kakao) From Mayan Cacau
The plant and seeds that produce Chocolate.
Chocolate in it's natural form,
The pure processed product before additives are combined with it to form Chocolate, or candy.

Cacao Liquor
Cacao Mass.

Cacao Mass
The creamy paste resulting from grounding the roasted Cacao beans.

Cacao Paste
Cacao Mass after extra Cocoa Butter has been added and it has cooled.

From Aztec Xocoatl, via Spanish and then French.
Product of the seeds of the tree Theobroma cacao L.
A narcotic, native to Venezuela, used by the Mayas and Aztecs and widely exploited by the 18th Century Spanish Empire.
A tempered version of the Aztec Xocoatl which is now added to many confections.

Chocolate Mountains
A Mountain Range in the southeastern Southern California desert; there is a large military practice range there. As far as i know they have nothing whatsoever to do with Cacao.

Chocolate War; The
The European Union Food Standards 'discussion' within the EU in the mid 1990s about how to define Chocolate, resulting in no minimum Cacao level, but labeled percentages on all bars. The result was an explosion the market for high percentage pure Chocolate bars.
A war of conquest in pre-Colombian Yucatan (Mexico).

The main stem of the Cacao tree with Pods and fans of leaves budding off.

A further Anglicization of Cacao caused by a spelling error, probably by 18th century English traders. Now generally used to refer to the product (a powder) of the Dutch Process which removes all of the fat.

Cocoa Beans
Roasted, fermented seeds from the fruit pods of the Cacao Tree.

Cocoa Butter
The fat pressed out of pure Cacao paste. The paste is about 55% fat. Has a melting point at human body temperature, is edible and nutritious which presents many industrial uses. Is added to pure Cacao Paste to create bar Chocolate.

Cocoa Powder
The results of Dutch processing where the creamy Cacao Mass is pressed into Cakes to remove all of the Cocoa butter (fat), and then ground into a powdered Chocolate flavor.

The original Venezuelan cultivar of Theobroma cacao accounting for 5% to 10% of all commercial Cacao. Produces very fine grade Chocolate with a full, complex flavor.

Dark Chocolate
Chocolate bars above 50% chocolate content.

Dutch Process
Producing a powder with no Cocoa Butter by pressing the pure Cacao Paste at very high pressure to produce a fat free powder. Developed in the Spanish Netherlands (now Belgium & Holland) in the mid 18th century. Although usually connected with Holland, i believe it is really Belgian.

Fair Trade
A method of production and asset management which assures that the people who grow the raw product are treated well and fairly compensated. Very important with Chocolate due to widespread problems with slavery on Cacao plantations.

Food of The Gods
Romantic term coined by Europeans for Cacao and often incorrectly attributed to the Aztecs. The origin of the genus name Theobroma.

The most common cultivar of Theobroma cacao accounting for 80% to 90% of all commercial Cacao. Makes low quality Chocolate with poor flavor.

Hot Chocolate
Originally, ground Cacao beans in almost boiling water. Now it refers Cocoa Powder powder in milk. In practice it is also used to refer to confections which contain far more sugar that Chocolate.

European. see Cacao

Like Water for Chocolate
The water to create the Aztec Chocolate beverage must be be extremely hot for the mixture to work, and from that came this phrase, still used in Mexico, to mean as hot as anything you can imagine.

Milk Chocolate
Candy made from numerous ingredients, primarily sugar and vanilla which includes less than 30% Cacao. Generally Cacao is the third or fourth ingredient. (Some Fine Chocolate Manufacturers are making a 60% milk chocolate where the milk replaces the sugar instead of replacing the chocolate.)

A method of agriculture which respects the health of the land, the farmer and the consumer. Avoids all added chemicals including pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Also works with an ecosystem (such as a tropical rainforest) instead of against it.

The large (about 40 cm) fruits of the Cacao Tree containing seeds which are processed into Chocolate. Green while growing, the Pods turn yellow, red or even purple when ripe.

Pure Chocolate
European name for bars with greater than 65% Cacao content and no additives.

One of about 30 to 70 small (3 cm x 1.5 cm) purple seeds in each Cacao fruit pod.

Theobroma cacao L.
A rainforest tree, native to native to Venezuela now grown in the tropics worldwide, whose seeds are produced into Chocolate.

A cultivar of Theobroma cacao accounting for 10% to 15% of all commercial Cacao. A hybrid of Crillo & Forastero grown primarily in the Caribbean. Produces very fine grade Chocolate with a spicy, complex flavor. Becoming more popular of late.



aka Cacao Nibs, Raw Cacao, Roasted Cacao, Ground Cacao
This is the cacao bean, minus the shell, and nothing else. You can buy cacao raw or roasted. Whole cacao is the whole bean, cacao nibs are crunched up pieces of bean, and ground cacao is powdered. Really the healthiest form of chocolate there is, cacao can sometimes be quite bitter.

Chocolate Liquor
aka Chocolate Liqueur
This is the basis of all types of chocolate, formed by grinding cacao beans into a smooth, liquid paste. Nothing is added, and it does not contain alcohol, despite the name. It naturally contains about 53% cocoa butter (fat).

Unsweetened Chocolate
aka Chocolate, Baking Chocolate, Pure Chocolate, Bitter Chocolate
Chocolate liquor that has been allowed to cool and harden. It is used for baking and to make other types of chocolate. Many bakers prefer this type of chocolate for baking because they have more control over the flavor and sweetness.

Bittersweet Chocolate
aka Semisweet Chocolate, Dark Chocolate
Contains at least 35% chocolate liquor, plus cocoa butter and sugar in varying amounts. There is no technical difference between bittersweet and semisweet types of chocolate, and they are often referred to as “dark.” Note that there is such a thing as “bittersweet (or semisweet) baking chocolate,” which is sweetened cocoa liquor without the added cocoa butter.

Sweet Chocolate
Contains at least 15% chocolate liquor, plus cocoa butter and sugar in varying amounts. Some people mistakenly refer to this as “bittersweet.”

Milk Chocolate
Contains at least 10% chocolate liquor, plus cocoa butter and sugar in varying amounts, and at least 12% milk (milk, cream, milk powder, etc).

White Chocolate
White chocolate is not technically one of the types of chocolate because it does not contain any chocolate liquor. It must contain at least 20% cocoa butter and 14% milk, plus sugar in varying amounts.

aka Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened Cocoa
Is made by slamming chocolate liquor with a hydraulic press to expel the fat, i.e. the cocoa butter. What’s left is allowed to harden, and then it is crushed into a powder. There is roughly 10-20% fat remaining in the powder. Cocoa powder is often used in low fat cooking because it retains the chocolate flavor but has much of the fat removed.

“Dutched” cocoa is formed by washing cocoa powder with an alkali solution of potassium carbonate. This darkens the color and neutralizes the acidity of the powder. Very alkalized cocoa is called black cocoa, which gives Oreos their unique look.

How do you know which to use in a recipe? Most American recipes use plain cocoa powder – good ol’ Hershey’s is plain cocoa. If a recipe needs Dutch cocoa, it will usually specify it. In general, regular cocoa is used in recipes with baking soda (which is alkaline), and Dutch cocoa is used in recipes with baking powder (which is acidic).

Ground Chocolate
aka Powdered Chocolate
Not to be confused with cocoa powder, this is regular eating chocolate that’s been ground to make a powder. It is generally used for making drinks, and should not be used in place of unsweetened cocoa powder in recipes.

Baking Chocolate
aka Baker’s chocolate (Baker’s is also a brand name)
What is up with baking chocolate? Does it have sugar added or not? ARRRRG! Well, here’s the thing: although the FDA sets the guidelines for what types of chocolate can be labeled “unsweetened, bittersweet, semisweet, milk, and white,” they don’t specify what can be labeled baking chocolate.

You can find all of the following types of chocolate labeled “baking chocolate”:

1) unsweetened chocolate

2) bittersweet baking chocolate (chocolate liquor + sugar, but no cocoa butter added)

3) bittersweet chocolate (chocolate liquor + sugar + cocoa butter) Most chefs wouldn’t consider this true baking chocolate because of the added cocoa butter, though you might find it labeled as such.

4) baking-resistant chocolate, i.e. chocolate chips (bittersweet chocolate with less cocoa butter added, so that it won’t melt easily)

So how do you know which to use? Hopefully your recipe specifies! In general, recipes will usually specify at least “unsweetened baking chocolate (#1 above)” or “bittersweet baking chocolate (#2 above).” Whether there’s cocoa butter added or not probably isn’t going to make or break your recipe.

One thing you should avoid, though, is using chocolate chips in place of other types of chocolate when the recipe calls for melting. The low cocoa butter content makes chips bad for melting.