The world-wide coveted chocolate

The world-wide coveted chocolate

Heritage & Traditions

Cubaplus Magazine

It does not seem an exaggeration to say the vast majority of people like chocolate, a food with properties that delight the palate and promote health, so this September 13 is celebrated as its world day. 

International Chocolate Day was established in 1995 in France, also under the auspices of the United States, on a date that coincides with the birthdays of British writer Roald Dahl (1916), author of the endearing story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Milton. S. Hershey (1857), founder of the well-known chocolate company that bears his surname.

Fundamental in gastronomy, specialists point out that the delicious mixture of cocoa and sugar is a stimulating food that provides energy and essential nutrients; increases serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain; it is rich in magnesium and antioxidants, and helps reduce cholesterol levels. 

It is also rich in flavonoids, an asset that stimulates the arteries so that blood flow is normal and blood pressure drops to standard levels, thus helping to lower it and also contribute to skin hydration. Chocolate has been called Godly delicacy, —whose name comes from the Nahuatl voice xocoatl—, with a history of more than three thousand years in Mesoamerican lands, today Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, with evidence found dating back to 1900 BC. 

Historians point out that the Olmecs were the first to consume it in the form of a drink, seasoned with spices, and the Mayans used cocoa beans as currency. It arrived in Europe in the first decades of the 16th century from the hand of the Spanish, who also, at the end of that century, introduced cocoa to Cuba, where chocolate remained the preferred drink well into the 19th century, when it was displaced by coffee.

With the evolution of the cultivation and processing of cocoa, towards the years of World War I, the Cuban eastern region of Baracoa became the main producer. Today it contributes around 75 percent of  national production and is the area where the best Cuban chocolate can be tasted.