The history of chocolate is filled with the most amazing inventions, from milk chocolate to the conching machine. Most of these innovations took place in the 19th century during what is known as the Industrial Revolution, but they still have a huge impact on chocolate as we know it today. Let’s check out the most important:
1828: It became possible to separate cocoa butter during the production process (and the by-product of this was cocoa powder). Dutch chemist Coenraad van Houten first introduced alkaline salts to chocolate, which reduced its bitterness, then created a press to remove about half the natural fat (cacao butter) from chocolate liquor, which made chocolate both cheaper to produce and more consistent in quality.
1847: A new process made it possible to manufacture an edible, solid form of chocolate, and the first chocolate bar was created. The creation of the first modern chocolate bar is credited to Joseph Fry, from the chocolate company Fry’s in England. He discovered that he could make a moldable chocolate paste by adding melted cacao butter back into Dutch cocoa.
1876: The first milk chocolate bar was invented. Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter is generally credited for adding dried milk powder to chocolate to create milk chocolate in 1876. But it wasn’t until several years later that he worked with his friend Henri Nestle and they created the Nestle Company and brought milk chocolate to the mass market.
1879: Conching was invented, leading to much smoother and aromatic chocolate. Legend has it that Rodolphe Lindt in Switzerland forgot to turn off a “special mixing machine” on a Friday night. When he entered his factory on the following Monday morning, what he found in the stirring tank was not burnt chocolate: the mass was shiny and smelled wonderful, and when he tasted some of it, he was the first person ever to experience how chocolate melts in the mouth.
These are just some of the inventions that made chocolate available on a large scale, improved its shelf-life and made it even more delicious!