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October 4, 2016 Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook
Word of the Week--"chocolate"
Definition--a food product, made from cacao beans, that have been husked, fermented, roasted, shelled, and ground. Often combined with a sweetener or other flavoring and used on its own or as a coating or flavoring for other dishes.

Also refers to a color of a grayish to deep reddish brown to deep grayish brown.

Discussion--The popular 1993 Mexican film Like Water for Chocolate has a confusing title for most of us from other cultures. The film equates the boiling point of water for hot chocolate with the height of passion. According to legend, the god Quetzalcoatl brought a cacao seed to earth from Paradise and wisdom and truth came from eating the fruit of the tree.

Chocolate was first mentioned in European history in 1519 when Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez visited the Emperor Montezuma of Mexico. Cortez brought chocolate back to the king of Spain, Charles V. Spanish monks kept the cacao beans a secret and created a profitable industry by planting trees in Spain's overseas colonies.

In the 1600's the secret spread to the rest of Europe, and the Spanish monopoly ended. In the 1700's the price dropped making chocolate available to more people than the very wealthy. In the late 1700's chocolate came back across the ocean to Massachusetts where the first U.S. chocolate factory was established.

In the 1800's eating chocolate came into its own with the use of cocoa powder, a result of the invention of the cocoa press and a steam engine for grinding the beans; lower excise taxes; great improvements in transportation; and improved manufacturing techniques for eating chocolate.

Today chocolate is more popular than ever. Annual world consumption of cocoa beans averages 600,000 tons and is a multibillion-dollar business.

Etymology--Chocolate for the Aztec was xocolatl. The similar Mayan form was xocoatl. The Mexican Indian form that we know, chocolate, comes from a combination of the terms for "foam", choco, and "water", atl. The Aztec term xococ, meaning bitter is also attributed to the derivation.

Whether bitter water or foamy water, early chocolate was consumed only in beverage form. Sharing a mug of this forthy, bitter water was part of the ritual in early Mesoamerican marriages.

Most languages below show similar roots.


   Foreign Translations
Dutch:  chocola(de)
French:  chocolat (m)
German:  Schokolade (f)
Italian: cioccolata
Spanish: chocolate

Jane Ellis      Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook

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