Cocoa Beans
Cacao beans





Belgian Chocolates
A variety of Belgian Chocolates

Learn the Delicious
History of Chocolate

By Danielle Pruger
Photos courtesy Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning

Europe is famous for its decadent chocolate and many countries are known for their tasty treats. However, chocolate was originally only enjoyed in Central America where cacao beans grew. The Olmec Indians were the first to harvest the cacao beans and 1,000 years later the Mayans were the first to bring the cacao tree from the rain forest onto plantations in modern day Mexico and Guatemala. It wasn't until 1530 that chocolate was introduced to the European population by Hernan Cortes, who added cane sugar to "xocaltl," a traditional chocolate drink, to make it more appealing to Spanish royalty and aristocracy. From there many new chocolate concoctions were created throughout Europe, such as Pralines and chocolate milk and many other treats we enjoy today. 

For more information visit the timeline created by Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning that covers more than 4,000 years of chocolate's history: Chocolate History Timeline