Fall Festival of Chocolate

Master Chocolatier Tom Cinnamon at his North Vancouver shop (Phhoto by Glenn Baglo/The Vancouver Sun

Master chocolatier Tom Cinnamon at his North Vancouver shop
(Phhoto by Glenn Baglo/The Vancouver Sun)

The story of chocolate  
Level 3

Adapted from The Vancouver Sun by Nila Gopaul

Chocolate comes from the beans of a cacao* fruit tree.
The cacao bean is the seed of the fruit. (say: ka-kow)
Cacao trees can grow 15 metres high.
The trees grow in tropical rain forests.

A cacao fruit tree (Photo – Public Domain)

A cacao fruit tree
(Photo – Public Domain)

Cacao beans (Photo – Public Domain)

Cacao beans
(Photo – Public Domain)


A spicy drink in South and Central America

The Mayans discovered the secret of cacao.
By 1400, the Aztecs ground cacao beans into a powder,
which they mixed with local spices such as chilies.

These people believed that drinking chocolate
would bring health, power and wisdom.
The popular cacao beans were also rare.
Therefore, they could be used like money
to trade for other things. For example:

1 cacao bean = 20 tomatoes
30 cacao beans = 1 small rabbit

A sweet drink in Europe
Explorers who went to South America brought
cacao beans back to Europe in the 1500s.
Europeans added sugar and honey.
Vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon
were also added later.
Hot chocolate became a favourite drink.

Chocolate bars
The first chocolate bars were made in 1847 in England.
Thirty years later, milk was added to chocolate bars
in Switzerland and the U.S.

B.C.’s oldest chocolate companies
Rogers’ Chocolates started making chocolates
in 1885 in Victoria.

Purdy’s Chocolates opened in 1907
in Vancouver.

Did you know?
B.C. makes some of the best chocolate in the world.
Recently, Mink Chocolates of Vancouver
won “Top chocolate bar”
at the 2014 International Chocolate Salon.
The chocolate bar is called Mermaid’s Choice.
“When I found out that I’d won …
I went nuts,” said chocolatier Marc Lieberman.
Marc is the president and founder of Mink.


Mermaid’s Choice chocolate bar
(Photo – Courtesy of Mink’s Marc Lieberman)