Please click on the headings below for more information all about Chocolate!

 

Addicted to Chocolate

Chocoholics unite! Latrobe is the home of the House of Anvers where we all know the most magnificent chocolate is made! So we in Latrobe are going to treat you to another day of chocolate delights!

Eat chocolate; mould; feed; decorate, drink; view - in fact, you will have a sensory overload with chocolate at Chocolate Winterfest, Latrobe.

Chocolate Winterfest, Latrobe has been indulging chocoholics since 2004 but this year we have concocted so much chocolate you may have to refrain for a few days after this year's chocolate-coated festivities!

Head to the Program page for the latest information and be sure to plan your day.

History of Chocolate

The cocoa tree has been growing for over three millennium and chocolate was first used around 1100BC. Mesoamerican peoples (i.e. indigenous people living in Mexico including the Aztecs and the Maya) made a chocolate beverage known as xocolatl, a Hahuatl word meaning “bitter water”.

In 1519 Cortez, a Spaniard, was introduced to the chocolate drink by the Aztec Emporer Montezuma. Emperor Montezuma’s attendants had to carefully and painstakingly whip the chocolate drink to make it frothy and were apparently kept very busy due to the Emperor’s vast consumption, believed to personally be 50 cups a day and approximately 2,000 cups were served daily in his court.
The chocolate drink was taken back to Spain with other goods and in 1544 Dominican friars brought Kekchi Maya nobles to the Spanish court of Prince Philip.

The chocolate beverage had been discovered by the western world! The culinary and medicinal uses of chocolate made the product so popular that the French planted cacao plantations in the Caribbean and the Spanish in the Phillipines. As early as 1753 the word Theobroma cacoa became an official scientific name when the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus published his taxonomic binomial system. Hans Sloane, President of the College of Physicians visited Jamaica and couldn’t believe that people could drink this awful chocolate drink. He found it nauseating so he added milk. He took this back to England and the first Chocolate House was opened in 1657 which was used by apothecaries in 1689 but later sold by the Cadbury brothers!

There are 3 main cultivar groups of cacao. The most expensive is criolla from the Maya which is less bitter and more aromatic 10% of chocolate, but difficult to grow however the Forastero tree is much hardier and produces 80% of our chocolate. The other 10 % is produced from the Trinitario - the hybrid of the two!.

Mythical origins of Chocolate

The Maya believed that the Kakaw (cocoa) was discovered by the gods in a mountain where there was other foods for them to eat! The Divine grandmother goddess Xmucane created humans by maize the plumed serpent gave cocoa to the Maya.

The Aztecs believe that the god Quetzalcoatl, discovered cocoa in a mountain with other plant foods. The cocoa drink was only for men as it considered toxic to women and children! The Madrid Codex shows the offering of cocoa to their gods.

Where to find Chocolate

There is no such thing as the chocolate tree! Chocolate is produced from the seed of the cacoa tree.

The cacoa tree is native to lowland tropical South America and grows in the deep tropical region of the Americas and Australia. In fact only 20°N and 20°S of the equator.

Pink flowers, not unlike the banana passionfruit flower, grow in clusters on the trunk and older branches and are pollinated by tiny flies called midges (Diptera). The fruit is the cocoa pod 15-30 cm long and 8-10 cm wide, weighs about 500g and ripens yellow to orange. This pod contains 20- 60 seeds called beans, which are surrounded by a white flesh. The scientific name - Theobroma - means “food of the gods”.