How many times have you gone into your local supermarket of corner sweet shop and bought a bar of fruit & nut chocolate, or maybe a bar of chocolate filled with creamy caramel or a good, old-fashioned 70% bittersweet chocolate bar? Dozens, if not hundreds I would imagine. In fact, for wholesale chocolate suppliers, the chocolate bar is a central part of their market. |
But have you ever wondered where the idea to package wholesale chocolate in such a handy form first came from? Read on.
Solid Chocolate is a Relative Newcomer
Did you know that, until the 19th century, the vast majority of chocolate was drunk rather than eaten as a solid?
Chocolate traces its origins to 19000 BCE and South America. According to the Aztecs, cacao seeds were the gift from the powerful God of Wisdom, Quetzalcoatl. The cacao beans were fermented and used to create a bitter drink that was mixed with wine or a corn puree to make a concoction that was believed to have aphrodisiac powers.
Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing the cocoa bean to Europe in 1500. But it only became popular as a drink (served mixed with honey or sugar) after the Spanish conquered the Aztecs.
From Liquid to Solid
Fast forward a few centuries, and the craze for chocolate (as a drink) was spreading across Europe. Imperial powers such as the English, French, and Dutch began planting enormous plantations of cacao in their colonies to keep up with the ever-growing demand.
In 1815, Coenraad van Houten, a Dutch chemist, discovered a method to make chocolate less bitter and more palatable. Later on, in 1828, he invented a process that removed half of the cocoa butter from the chocolate making it cheaper and more consistent in quality.
In 1847 Joseph Fry made mouldable chocolate by adding melted cocoa butter (followed two years later by Cadbury) and in 1875 Daniel Peter invented milk chocolate by adding powdered milk (developed by Henri Nestlé) to the liquid chocolate mixture.
Rodolph Lindt invented the conching machine in 1879 which meant that the chocolate used in the new chocolate bars had a much finer texture and maintained its shape at room temperature but would give an amazing creamy taste when eaten, making it even more delicious and desirable. The chocolate bar had come of age.
Chocolate Bars – the Mainstay of Wholesale Chocolate Suppliers
A lot of chocolate has been poured and moulded since that first chocolate bar. Today, wholesale chocolate suppliers can supply a vast range of chocolate bars from single rows to huge 1 kilo bars. With dozens of different manufactures producing a mind-bending range of chocolates using different techniques, unique flavours and fillings, the demand for chocolate bars remains huge.
The chocolate loving public, both in the UK and abroad, is always looking for something new to titillate their taste buds and their imagination. But the old favourites, milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, fruit & nut, aerated chocolate and chocolate bonbons are still in demand and readily available alongside their new, more exotic brethren.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established wholesale chocolate suppliers with decades of experience supplying sweets and high-end chocolates to retailers across the UK. Working with the most dedicated suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and the UK, hf Chocolates' great tasting and beautifully packaged products add panache to any sweet display.
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