Cacao revolution: the transformation from beverage to bar – and back

Did you know that for more then 28 centuries cacao has always been consumed as a beverage, not as a a solid food (chocolate bar)!

In the ‘New World’ it was seen as a holy drink, certainly not to enjoy without purpose. The xocolatl was served during importing meetings and rituals and sacrificed in the graves of their rulers. The kings of the Aztec empire enjoyed their ‘Xocolatl’ from calabash cups. 

When cacao was brought to Europe in the 16th century, it soon became a luxury health drink. Prescribed by doctors and later on, drank in chocolate houses where noblemen could order exotic chocolate brews infused with musk, citrus peel, jasmine and vanilla. Louis XIV in Versailles loved cacao, served from a silver chocolate pot. 

Chocolate house London

“Chocolate is a divine, celestial drink, the sweat of the stars, the vital seed, divine nectar, the drink of the gods, panacea and universal medicine.” – Geronimo Piperni

The industrial revolution changed cacao’s exclusive status. The thick and frothy 100% pure cacao drink was replaced by a cheaper and easy to prepare chocolate powder drink, with very little fat. 

We know it as ‘cacoa’ or cacao powder. An invention of the Dutch chemist Coenraad van Houten. His machine was able to seperate the cacao solids from the fat. 


chocolate for the masses

What a revolution! For centuries only the rich and royal could get their hands on chocolate. With machines being invented, the adding of sugar and milk powder, suddenly EVERYONE could. 

Germany, Switzerland, UK, Holland.. many factories, chocolate brands and thechniques (conching, tempering) supported the popularity and mass production of chocolate around 1850 – 1845 in Europe. 

Although not in ‘optima forma’, as we would say, cacao showed her power by stealing the hearts of every European and US households with its silky touch. Becoming a huge part of our culture, with many good memories connected to it. 

In the last twenty years the 
traditional and unprocessed cacao as a beverage is making it’s comeback. Better known as ceremonial grade cacao. Combining the ancient craft with modern sense and recalled wisdom. At least, that is what we are trying to do here at Wild Child Cacao. 😀

Honouring the precious liquid of the earth…. and it’s incredible journey throughout history.

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