Gracio News

A Brief History of Chocolate

ORIGINS OF CHOCOLATE – Part 1

The story of chocolate begins in Latin America, where the cacao tree grows wild. The Olmec (1000 BC) were the first to make use of chocolate in what is today southeast Mexico. The word cacao is thought to originate from the Olmec word “kakawa”.

It’s not until the arrival of the Maya (250-900 AD) that chocolate history begins to take shape. The cacao bean was such a valuable commodity for the Mayans that it was commonly used as currency. Payment of 10 beans could get you a rabbit, a payment of 100 beans could buy you a slave. The beans were so valuable that it was known for people to counterfeit beans some even resorting to carving them out of clay. Cacao beans were still in use as currency up until the 19th century in many parts of Latin America.

The use of chocolate was firmly embedded within Mayan culture. Chocolate was used in religious rituals, marriage ceremonies and it even had it’s own god. While the Mayans used cacao purely as a drink, the story of solid chocolate doesn’t start until the 1850s. The preparation of chocolate by the Mayans wasn’t too different to how we do it today. Step one involved harvesting, fermenting and then drying the beans. Then the beans were roasted, the shells removed and then ground into a paste. This cacao paste was mixed with hot water and spices like chili, vanilla, honey and flowers. Chocolate was often mixed with water and corn to make a gruel which is similar to the corn drink pinole which is still consumed across Latin America today.

Chocolate was so valuable to the Mayans that it was usually only the rich that drank chocolate on a regular basis. Emperors were buried with jars of chocolate at their sides underlining the precious status of chocolate in Mayan culture.

The Aztecs had a legend that the god Quetzalcoatl brought chocolate to earth but was cast out of paradise for giving it to man, only the gods were fit to drink chocolate!

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Welcome to Autumn!

Welcome to Autumn from Gracio Hot Chocolate!

Today – 1st September 2016 – marks the beginning of the autumn season after a very busy spring and summer Gracio Hot chocolate looks forward to this unique time of year with it’s crisper mornings and beautiful tree scenes.

It’s a great time to be considering your hot chocolate requirements as weather slowly becomes a little colder – will you be better with handy 1-cup sachets or with a high-cocoa tin of Gracio Gourmet?

Talk to us on 0203 096 7233 or email for samples: info@gracio.co.uk 

UK Chocolate Market

The UK Chocolate Market – Can you believe it?

According to the OOH Catering Magazine Britain is a nation of chocoholics.

Research by Datamonitor shows that during 2015 we consumed 661 million kilos of chocolate and almost a third of all chocolate consumed in Europe is consumed here.

Gracio Luxe Large Sachets

Mintel Research indicates 9 out of 10 people in the UK consume chocolate and the value of the market has grown by 1.6% to around £4.1 billion!

Source: OOH Magazine, August 2016

Chocolate Notes

The enormous chocolate market of today – both as a beverage, confectionery and in baking – has a long and fascinating history. Apparently traces of a chemical found in chocolate where found in ancient Mayan burial ground in Belize and some estimate the origins of chocolate to go back more than 4000 years!

Used by ancient central American civilisations as a drink and even as currency in bean form, modern soldiers as nourishment in rations and considered at some points in its long history to be a medicine with ‘cure-all’ abilities; chocolate’s appeal does not seem to be fading.

Funnily enough, it seems from our researches that for many years ‘chocolatl’ as it was then called was only a beverage (and an expensive one) and not in bar form – an innovation that awaited the developments pioneered by Messer’s Fry, Van Houton, Cadbury, Lindt and Nestle during the 19th century.

Gracio Hot Chocolate brings you outstanding hot chocolate drink in convenient formats that conveys the very best of this extraordinary product for you and your customers to enjoy!

Gracio Hot Chocolate

Welcome to Gracio Hot Chocolate. Our premium products use only the finest ingredients in practical formats.

Our versatile Gracio Luxe single cup sachet format is specially packed for 8oz and 12oz cups that can be used with hot water or hot milk.

The Gracio Gourmet blend hot chocolate in 1kg tins is a prime 40% cocoa content recipe which is perfect for use with steamed milk in cafes, bars and restaurants.