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A History of Cocoa

In the ancient world, cocoa only existed in its purest form and was known only for its medicinal value. For many centuries this pure form of cocoa was revered by all and trusted for its beneficial use in cases like fever, heart pain, emaciation, fatigue, kidney and bowel complaints. There is historical evidence that points us to the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations who recorded their use of cocoa for medicinal purposes for over 2000 years.

More recently man has tarnished cocoa’s healthy reputation by adding emulsifying fats, sugars, milk, flavorings and preservatives, and introduced processed cocoa to the world. But this was not true of cocoa in the ancient world.

Cocoa’s Ancient Travelogue

The growing of cocoa plants dates back to 1500 BC when it is believed the Olmec Indians grew the cocoa beans as a domestic crop. At around 250 BC to 900 CE the drinking of an unsweetened cocoa drink was prevalent, but only amongst the elite of Mayan society. It was a sophisticated drink even in those days! When the Mayans migrated to the northern parts of South America, they took their cocoa beans with them. This drink was a big hit with the upper class Aztec Indians and they decided to make it their own, imposing a tax on the beans. The Aztecs were the first to call it “xocalatl”, which means warm or bitter liquid.

The famous explorers Columbus and Hernandez encountered the cocoa beans during their travels. Mayan nobles gifted Prince Philip of Spain with jars of beaten cocoa, pre-mixed and ready-to-drink. But neither Spain, nor Portugal shared this gift with the rest of Europe till a century later. In the 16th century, the Spanish began to add sugar cane juice and vanilla flavoring to produce a sweetened cocoa drink, which was more palatable to the taste buds.

Cocoa began to gain wide popularity as a medicinal drink and for its aphrodisiac value. The first cocoa shop in London was set up in 1657. At this time, too, cocoa was considered a beverage only for the elite of society. It was only in 1730 when the price of cocoa dropped that it became affordable to the common man.

In 1765, chocolate was imported to the new “Colonies” by an Irishman named, John Hanan. The beans were imported from the West Indians into Dorchester, Massachusetts, where the first chocolate mill was built in 1780. The chocolates were named after Dr. James Baker who helped in refining the chocolate for a taste similar to the one that we know today. These were known as Baker’s ® Chocolates.

In 1819, François Louis Callier, opened up the first Swiss chocolate factory. In 1828, Conrad Van Houten developed a process in Amsterdam that gave chocolate a smoother consistency by squeezing out some of the cocoa butter and adding alkaline salts. About twenty years later, Joseph Fry & Son developed a process that put some of the cocoa butter back, added sugar and created a smooth paste that could be molded into the first ever, chocolate bar. In 1861, Richard Cadbury created the first Valentine shaped chocolate box for Valentine’s Day forming an irrevocable bond between chocolate and romance. Since then, chocolate makers have been improving on the texture, taste and variations in chocolate for chocolate lovers all over the world. Back to the Historical Use of Cocoa

It was only as recently as 1998 that research studies on cocoa suggested that the historical use of cocoa may be a very healthy path indeed.. Chocolate lovers were thrilled to know that instead of discouraging people from eating chocolate, doctors and scientists were now encouraging the selective consumption of chocolate for its antioxidant strength and for its benefits to heart health! But not all chocolate is equal in its health-imparting properties. From the assortment of chocolates available today, cocoa in its purest form is the best choice. The best choice would be powdered pure cocoa that can be used to make cocoa beverages. The second best choice would be dark, bitter chocolate. Milk chocolate does not contain the high antioxidant strength of dark, bitter chocolate.

CocoPure

CocoPure is one the best blends of pure cocoa powder combined with two more antioxidant-rich nutrients-Resveratrol and Green Tea extracts. The combination of these three ingredients forms a relaxing beverage, hot or cold. Studies on these three nutrients have been published in prominent journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology. They note the ability of all three nutrients for supporting cardiovascular health, increased blood flow, arterial health, elevated energy levels, digestion, and the immune system.

Now, centuries later, science has finally caught up with the historical use of pure cocoa. The combination of Pure Cocoa, Resveratrol and Green tea is now available in a delicious beverage that brings the health and sophistication back into cocoa drinking! With just 30 calories per serving, CocoPure makes a great drink for those on a diet as well.

New Vitality is a health supplements company. It develops supplement and chocolate tea products which are carefully formulated under the guidance of an elite panel comprised of renowned doctors, nutritionists, chemists and researchers. Whether you want a chocolate teas, pet health supplement, a personal care product or a health care product, New Vitality is a one-stop shop for all needs

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kevin_Agrawal

The Bhopal Disaster

On this day, the third of December, twenty-five years ago, at least 3800 people died as a result of a gas leak at a pesticide factory in Bhopal, India. Some believe that as many as 25000 people died in total during the years that followed. Even today, dangerous chemicals are still leaking into the air and water supply, affecting the health of thousands of people.

The factory was a subsidiary of the American chemical giant Union Carbide, now called Dow Chemical. It appeared that the plant was not prepared for such a disaster, and was understaffed.

Was this a classic example of rich western companies exploiting poorer, developing countries? I’ll let you decide.
If you want more information about this subject, go to the wiki entry.

The Berlin Wall

berlin wall, anglais facile

image: http://www.photoeverywhere.co.uk

Today (9th November 2009) is the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The wall was constructed in the early 1960s and was intended to stop mass emmigration to the west from East Germany, especially young, skilled workers and scientists (the ‘brain drain’).

Important events that led to the fall of the Berlin wall:

  • Trade union movement, Solidarity, in Poland in the early 1980s
  • A move towards more openness in Soviet Russia under Gorbachov
  • A speech by Ronald Reagan challenging the East to tear the wall down
  • The decision by Hungary to open its borders to Austria, allowing thousands of East Germans on holiday to flee to Austria. When Hungary then started to prevent East Germans from leaving, massive demonstrations started calling for more freedom of movement.

The current German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is herself a former East German, and has thus become a symbol of the successful reunification.

I’m sure though, that there must be some people who regret the end of the Soviet block. As with any social change, there are always winners and losers. The communist system guaranteed everyone a job and accomodation. For some, it have been a good thing that it wasn’t possible for some people to make fortunes while others struggle to survive, as is the case in our western democracies.

What do you think? Leave your comments (in English, please) below.

Today in History – October 19th

It’s ironic to note that the British were defeated in a state called ‘Virginia’. This state was named in honour of
Queen Elizabeth the first – the ‘virgin queen’.

1781
The decisive victory in the revolutionary war. British troops under Lord
Cornwallis surrender to American and French forces at the battle of York town
in Virginia. In a peace treaty a few years later Britain officially
recognises the independence of its former colonies, the United States.

1987

A stock market crash on Wall Street. The Dow Jones plunges 508 points or 22.6
percent in value, that’s the second biggest one-day drop for the Dow ever.

1812

French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte began a disastrous retreat from Moscow.
Tens of thousands of troops die from hunger, cold and Russian attacks during the
retreat as winter arrives early.

and 1977.

The supersonic Concorde makes its first landing in New York City.

Today in History: October 15

October 15, 1946. In Neurenburg, Germany, former Nazi airforce chief Hermann Goering commits suicide behind bars. Goering takes poison just hours before his scheduled execution as a convicted war
criminal for his role during world war two.

1917: During world war one, a French firing squad outside Paris executes the Dutch dancer Mata Hari, convicted of spying for the Germans.

1964: A changing of the guard at the Kremlin as it’s announced that Nikita Krushchev has been removed as leader of what’s then the Soviet Union. Aleksei Kosygin becomes the new soviet premier, while Leonid Brezhnev replaces Krushchev as communist party chief.

and 1951: “I Love Lucy”, classic TV sitcom (=situation comedy) starring Lucille and Desi Arnes premiers on CBS.

Today in History, October 15.