An age-old obsession 4

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient

* By the year 1810, Venezuela was producing half the world's requirements for cocoa, and one-third of all the cocoa produced in the world was being consumed by the Spaniards.

* 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. By squeezing out cocoa butter from the beans, Van Houten's "dutching" was an alkalizing process.

* In his 1923 volume The Cocoa and Chocolate Industry, Arthur W.

Knapp attributes the rise in popularity of cocoa to these innovations: The introduction by Van Houten of cocoa powder as we now know it.

The reduction of the duty to a low figure which remained constant for a number of years.

The great improvements that have taken place in the methods of transport.

Improvements in the manufacture of eating chocolate.

* Daniel Peter of Vevey, Switzerland, experimented for eight years before finally inventing a means of making milk chocolate for eating in 1876. He brought his creation to a Swiss firm that today is the world's largest producer of chocolate: Nestle.

* In 1879 Rodolphe Lindt of Berne, Switzerland, produced chocolate that melted on the tongue. He invented "conching," a means of heating and rolling chocolate to refine it. After chocolate had been conched for 72 hours and had more cocoa butter added to it, the original "fondant" was created.

* Cadbury Brothers displayed eating chocolate in 1849 at an exhibition in Bingley Hall at Birmingham, England.

* Swiss confiseur Jules Sechaud of Montreux introduced a process for manufacturing filled chocolates in 1913.

* The New York Cocoa Exchange, located at the World Trade Center, was begun October 1, 1925, so that buyers and sellers could get together for transactions.

* Brazil and the Ivory Coast are leaders in the cocoa bean belt, accounting for nearly half of the world's cocoa.

* While the United States leads the world in cocoa bean importation and chocolate production, Switzerland continues as the leader in per capita chocolate consumption.

* In 1980 a story of chocolate espionage hit the world press when an apprentice of the Swiss company of Suchard-Tobler unsuccessfully attempted to sell secret chocolate recipes to Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and other countries.

* By the 1990s, chocolate had proven its popularity as a product, and its success as a big business. Annual world consumption of cocoa beans averages approximately 600,000 tons, and per capita chocolate consumption is greatly on the rise. Chocolate manufacturing in the United States is a multibillion-dollar industry. According to Norman Kolpas (1978, p. 106), "We have seen how chocolate progressed from a primitive drink and food of ancient Latin American tribes -- a part of their religious, commerce and social life -- to a drink favored by the elite of European society and gradually improved until it was in comparably drinkable and, later, superbly edible. We have also followed its complex transformation from the closely packed seeds of the fruit of an exotic tree to a wide variety of carefully manufactured cocoa and chocolate products. Beyond the historical, agricultural and commercial, and culinary sides to chocolate, others: affect on our health and beauty, and inspiration to literature and the arts."


Submitted By CHARLENE DEERING On 03-13-95

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