Chocolate Time Line

June 01, 1994

* At least 2000 B.C.: Estimated origins of cacao, in the Amazon or Orinoco basin.

* A.D. 460-480: Date assigned to cocoa residue discovered in Mayan vessels in northeastern Guatemala.

* 1502: After his fourth voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus takes cacao beans back to Spain.

* 1528: Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes observes Montezuma, Aztec emperor of Mexico, consuming a drink made of burnt and ground cacao nibs, maize, water and spices; he sends beans and recipes back to King Charles V in Spain. The Spanish added sugar, vanilla and possibly cinnamon. They also heated the beverage.

* 1600s: The English add milk. Drinking cacao becomes popular among the European aristocracy, who laud its medicinal properties.

* 1700s: Chocolate houses open in London.

* 1765: Coming full circle, from New World to Old World and back again, a chocolate house opens in Dorchester, Mass.

* 1828: The development of the cocoa press, which separates the chocolate liquor into cocoa butter and cocoa solids, ushers in the age of chocolate confections.

* 1847: The first eating chocolate, made by adding extracted cocoa butter to finely ground, roasted cacao beans and sugar, is produced commercially.

* 1876: The Swiss make milk chocolate by processing ground cocoa with sugar and dried milk solids.

* 1900: Milton Hershey begins mass-producing milk chocolate candy bars.

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