Gourmet Chocolate – Kernel’s Gourmet Popcorn & More – 630-232-7151 – Shipping Nationwide

Treat the chocolate fans in your life to delicious Gourmet Chocolate from Kernel’s! Choose from our wide assortment of fine Gourmet Chocolate treats: Milk Chocolate Jumbo Cashews, Milk Chocolate Covered Pecans, Milk Chocolate Triple Dipped Malt Balls, Milk Chocolate Pretzel Balls and lots more.

Gourmet Chocolate

Gourmet Chocolate

If you’re in the mood for simply delicious Gourmet Chocolate, visit our store in Geneva at 316 West State Street or our second location in Naperville at 2555 West 75th Street, Suite 109. You’ll enjoy our selection of fine Gourmet Chocolate delights, retro candies and our signature varieties of popcorn. We can also ship your order to anywhere in the USA – just come on in to place your order, call us or use our convenient online ordering form – either way you’ll soon be satisfying your sweet tooth with authentic confections made with care!

A Tasty Trip Through the History of Gourmet Chocolate

The interesting history of chocolate can be linked way back to the Mayan civilization and even before that to the ancient peoples of southern Mexico. While the term chocolate may evoke images of Halloween candy bars or boxes of Valentine’s Day treats, the chocolate of modern times is actually quite different from the form of chocolate thousands of years ago. Throughout a large part of history, chocolate was a valued but bitter-tasting beverage instead of an edible product.

Chocolate is created from cacao, which grows on trees in its native South and Central America. The cacao fruits are known as pods, with each one containing around 40 beans. The beans are first dried and then roasted to prepare them for consumption. It’s not precisely clear when cacao became widely used or who initiated its use. Research performed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian reveals that ancient pots and containers dating to approximately 1500 B.C. have been found with traces of compounds found within tea and Gourmet Chocolate.

Many Gourmet Chocolate historians speculate that prehistoric civilizations used cacao to make ceremonial beverages. But since they did not document this practice, historical opinions vary whether if cacao beans were used or only the pulp from the cacao pod instead.

Application and knowledge of the cacao bean made its way to the Central American Mayan people, who not only enjoyed chocolate but held it in high esteem. Mayan historical records describe chocolate beverages being consumed as part of celebrations and to commemorate transactions.

Even though chocolate had an important position in the Mayan’s society culture, it was not something that only the wealthy could enjoy. Chocolate was accessible to most everyone. In fact, Mayan households would often include chocolate as part of their daily meals. Mayan chocolate was typically quite thick and would frequently be blended with water, honey or even peppers.

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The Aztec civilization took their enjoyment of chocolate quite seriously. In their view, cacao was so delightful it must have come from the heavens above. Similar to the Mayans, Aztecs liked their chocolate drinks in decorated vessels. But Aztecs also used the cacao bean as a form of currency to purchase foodstuffs and other tangible goods. In their culture, the versatile cacao beans were viewed as even more valuable than gold.

Chocolate beverages were typically enjoyed by the wealthier segment of Aztec society, although it was also enjoyed generally at family celebrations or weddings too.

There are various different tales regarding around when Gourmet Chocolate first arrived on the European continent, though it’s generally though that it initially arrived in the country of Spain. One report states that it was explorer Christopher Columbus who discovered cacao beans when he intercepted a trade ship on a trip to the New World and brought the beans back to Spain with him.

Regardless of how Gourmet Chocolate arrived in Spain, by the later part of the 1500s it had become a very popular confection among the Spanish peoples and the country started to import chocolate around 1585. As people from other European nations such as France and Italy traveled to regions of Central America, they too discovered the delights of the cacao bean and carried chocolate along with them back to their own countries.

It was not much longer until the demand for chocolate expanded throughout much of Europe. Along with the growing demand came more chocolate growing properties upon which many people worked. European appetites, however, were not quite fully content with the conventional Aztec chocolate beverage recipe. They created their own variations of hot chocolate drinks with added cane sugar, tasty cinnamon and other spices and flavors. Before long trendy chocolate cafes for wealthy patrons appeared in cities such as Amsterdam and London.

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Chocolate Becomes Popular in American Colonies

It’s estimated that chocolate made its way to the shores of Florida upon a Spanish vessel in the year 1641. Food historians believe that the first chocolate house in American opened its doors in the city of Boston in 1682. Within just a few years, cocoa beans were a significant import in the colonies and chocolate was in demand by folks from all walks of life.

In the Revolutionary War, chocolate was often provided to military personnel in the form of rations and was occasionally provided to soldiers in lieu of money as pay. (Chocolate also given as rations to the military during the Second World War.)

When Gourmet Chocolate made its early appearances in European society it was an item that only wealthier people could obtain. However, in 1828, a Dutch chemist named Coenraad Johannes van Houten came up with a method of treating cacao beans with certain alkaline salts in order to produce powdered chocolate that was easy to mix with water. This method came to be known as “Dutch processing” and the beverage known as “Dutch cocoa.”

Van Houten also developed a cocoa press, although there are some reports stating that it was his father who actually invented the device. The press was used to separate cocoa butter from the beans to make cocoa powder. The powder could be used to make a number of chocolate items as well. It was this method of processing that helped to make chocolate accessible to the general public and enabled chocolate to be produced on a large scale.

For a lot of the 1800s chocolate was consumed in the form of a beverage, with milk often added rather than water. Around 1850, the first chocolate candy bar was created in England out of a paste developed from cocoa butter, sugar and chocolate liquor.

Chocolate had evolved quite a lot during the 1800s, but it still was rather hard by today’s standards.
In 1879, a Swiss chocolatier named Rudolf Lindt created a machine that mixed chocolate in a new way to give it a smoother consistency that went very well with additional ingredients. By the end of that century and into the early years of the 20th century, family-owned chocolate companies such as Hershey, Nestle and Mars were producing a variety of chocolate products to fulfill the rising demand for the delicious treat.

Order Gourmet Chocolate Today from Kernel’s Gourmet Popcorn & More – 830-232-7151