The history

The Olmecs (1500-400 BC) were almost certainly the first humans to consume chocolate, originally in the form of a drink. They crushed the cocoa beans, mixed them with water and added spices, chillies and herbs (Coe's Theory). They began cultivating cocoa in equatorial Mexico.

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The history

The making

In order to become the delectable confection that is universally-loved, cocoa beans must pass through a number of very delicate, time-tested steps and processes.

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The making

The tasting

France, Spain, Italy, Great Britain; every country has its unique traditions and specialties with respect to chocolate. From rich hot cocoa, to hand-made confections, drop dead dense cakes, creamy ice creams, airy mousses and souffles; intense sauces and an endless variety of bars, there is a chocolate that appeals to every palate.

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The tasting

The benefits

When prepared with all natural ingredients and modest amounts of sugar, chocolate is a fairly healthy food.

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The benefits

The cocoa tree

The cocoa tree (Latin Theobroma Cacao, meaning literally "food of the gods") only grows in humid, tropical climates, with cultivation limited to regions between 20° north and 20° south of the equator.

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The cocoa tree

The production

Global production of cocoa is concentrated effectively in the regions between 10° north and 10° south of the Equator. Cocoa was first imported to Spain from South America by Hernando Cortez in 1528. In an unsuccessful attempt to satisfy the growing demands of the Spanish court, an early effort to expand cultivation of cocoa was made in the Caribbean.

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The production

Dark chocolate

There are basic government regulations defining what it takes for a product to be called "dark chocolate". In the EU (European Union), dark chocolate is basically defined to be at least 35% pure chocolate. In the US, it's defined to be "sweet dark chocolate" if it has at least 15% pure chocolate, or "bittersweet"/"semisweet" if it has at least 35% pure chocolate.

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Dark chocolate

American vs French chocolate

The comparison of bar chocolate was fairly straight forward. All of our taste testers agreed that American chocolate is sweeter, plain and simple. French chocolate retains more of the rich chocolate flavor, particularly when it comes to dark chocolate.

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American vs French chocolate

Belgian chocolate

The comprehensive history of chocolate that leads to one of the most versatile and beloved foods in the world is nearly void of mention in the small country of Belgium. This is surprising considering that today the country of Belgium, while also known for beer, waffles and as the capital of the EU, is almost synonymous with the word chocolate.

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Belgian chocolate

Swiss chocolate

The Swiss chocolate Empire began in 1697 when Heinrich Escher, mayor of Zurich, was introduced to chocolate in Brussels. He was the first to bring it back home, where it was discreetly consumed at the feasts of the various guilds which ruled the city.

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Swiss chocolate

French chocolate

What are the French known for throughout the world? The first elements that come to mind are definitely a sense of style, culinary expertise and a certain art of living. France, for most people, is about large cups of café au lait, tender baguette, deep red wine and smelly cheese. Chocolate, however, is not generally regarded as one of our specialties: no one really talks of French chocolate...

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French chocolate

The gourmet chocolate

Lately the word “gourmet” has become a popular adjective to be used in describing foods and beverages. One of the most common places to find this is in the extensive world of chocolate. So how do you know if what you are getting is actually gourmet chocolate?

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About Gourmet Chocolate

The chocolate cake

The most familiar recipe in the world to count chocolate as one of its ingredients is undoubtedly chocolate cake. While their sizes, shape, density, flavor, and ingredients may vary depending on where you are, it is a treat that is enjoyed in all corners of the world, from South Africa to Australia to Hawaii and even China. Norwegian Erling Kagge actually took it to the South Pole!

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The chocolate cake

The chocolate mousse

If you are in France, no matter which region, no matter where you eat, you will most likely be offered the divine French dessert Mousse au Chocolat. You can find it in corner cafés as well as expensive gourmet restaurants.

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The chocolate mousse

The chocolate fountains

This stainless steel marvel of melted chocolate and dipping goodies has taken the stress out of trying to throw a good party, whether big or small.

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The chocolate fountains