Food prepared from ground roasted cacao beans. It is consumed as candy, used to make beverages, and added as a flavouring or coating for confections and baked products. It was introduced to Europe by Hernán Cortés following his visit in 1519 to the court of Montezuma II, who served the conquistador a bitter cacao-bean drink, xocoatl. In making chocolate, the kernels of fermented and roasted cacao beans are ground into a paste called chocolate liquor, which may be hardened in molds to form baking (bitter) chocolate, pressed to reduce the cocoa butter (vegetable fat) content and then pulverized to make cocoa powder, or mixed with sugar and additional cocoa butter to make sweet (eating) chocolate. The addition of concentrated milk to sweet chocolate produces milk chocolate. White chocolate, made from cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla, contains no cocoa solids. Rich in carbohydrates and fat and containing small amounts of caffeine, chocolate is an excellent source of quick energy.
Brazilian cocoa pods—Carl Frank/Photo Researchers
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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