June 7th is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Chocolate ice cream is the second most common flavor of ice cream, after vanilla, even though it was created first.
The flavor has been in existence since 1750 BC in Mexico, having been found at a pre-Olmec archaeological site. The Mayans were drinking chocolate around 400 AD. By the 15th Century, the Aztecs gained control of a large part of Mesoamerica and adopted cacao into their culture. Although Columbus took cacao beans with him back to Spain, chocolate made no impact until Spanish friars introduced it to the Spanish Court. After the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, the chocolate was imported to Europe, and until 1800 chocolate was a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by the elite.
I won’t bore you with the details of ridding chocolate of its bitterness or inventing a press to remove about half the natural fat (cocoa butter), but these innovations introduced the modern era of less expensive chocolate. A Swiss chocolatier invented milk chocolate by mixing a powdered milk developed by Henri Nestle. Cadbury manufactured boxed chocolates in England by 1862 and in 1903, Milton S. Hershey purchased chocolate pressing equipment at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and soon began the career of Hershey’s chocolates with chocolate-coated caramels. (from Wikipedia and me) (July 7th is National Chocolate Day….or at least one of them)