HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE
Chocolate arrives in Europe in the mid-1500s after Hernan Cortes first broke the news in the letter of December 15, 1520.
It comes from the cocoa plant, a spontaneous tree of the equatorial coasts of the Americas. The first to use cocoa beans were the Olmecs, a tribe originally from Mexico, who called them "kakawa". The Maya were the first to cultivate the cocoa plant and worshiped a chocolate deity. The Indians considered it a precious plant so much that they protected it from the wind with taller plants and broad leaves. Before the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, cocoa had taken on symbolic and religious meanings for the Indians, so much so that Linnaeus , a Swedish naturalist, when he had to give it a name called it "plant of the Gods" with the name of Theobroma cacao .
The earliest form of chocolate was that of drink made from fruits often dried or roasted and mixed in water with local spices, resulting in a cold and bitter drink. This recipe in Europe was transformed to conform to the most refined tastes and was sweetened and heated, resulting in a hot drink with a sweet taste, masking the bitterness of the cocoa. Despite this change, cocoa slowly spread as a stimulating and medicinal drink, it became famous at the end of the 16th century in the Spanish court and among aristocratic families. The Spaniards enriched the drink with spices such as vanilla and cinnamon making it very similar to the chocolate we know today, arousing interest among doctors and pharmacists who attributed it with energetic and restorative properties.
THE CHOCOLATE BAR
While cocoa has been popular since the early 16th century, chocolate as we know it, in the form of a tablet, is a recent discovery. Chocolate comes from the processing of cocoa beans that are roasted and processed with other ingredients to form the chocolate as we know it today. Today it is consumed in various ways but the tablet is the best known, there are various gradations based on the amount of cocoa mass inside.
A type of chocolate that maintains its organoleptic properties and which has a long tradition behind it is Modica chocolate . It originates in the Sicilian city of the same name and has a unique and original texture and flavor compared to traditional chocolate.
WELLNESS OF THE HEART
Thanks to scientific studies it has been possible to detect the chemicals present in chocolate and responsible for its beneficial properties.
Chocolate contains many flavonoids, substances that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, in chocolate there are a subclass of flavonoids, flavonols, which, taken daily, maintain good cardiovascular health and promote protection of the vascular endothelium. A drop in blood pressure was recorded. The methylxanthines present in a percentage that is equal to 2% for theobromine and 0.3% for caffeine have a diuretic and vasodilating action. According to these indications, the consumption of chocolate reduces the appearance of cardiovascular diseases and has an anti-inflammatory action.