Unwrap the fascinating story of chocolate through the ages.
Learn about global history through the lens of one of our most beloved foods — chocolate!
The cocoa tree is first domesticated in the Amazon basin of South America.
Stories of the origin of chocolate are included in religious prophecies of Olmec, Mayan, Toltec and Aztec cultures.
Chocolate is mixed with water to produce a drink topped by a layer of foam. This foam is highly prized — a woman’s status in the village was measured by the amount of foam she could produce when making a chocolate drink.
Beans are roasted, then the nibs ground on a heated stone metate with spices and other ingredients to produce chocolate.
The Maya are the first civilization to record the farming of cacao.
Christopher Columbus, on his fourth voyage to the New World, meets a native Mayan who has a canoe filled with cocoa beans, which he mistakes for almonds.
Hernan Cortes discovers that the Aztecs use cocoa beans for currency.
Aztec emperor Montezuma II introduces chocolate to Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes. Montezuma II is believed to consume up to 50 cups of chocolate per day.
Cortes brings cocoa beans and chocolate drink-making equipment to Spain.
Chocolate is introduced to France with the marriage of Louis XIII of France to Anne of Austria.
America discovers chocolate! The earliest record of chocolate in North America is from St. Augustine, Florida, where the Spanish ship, Nuestra Senora del Rosario del Carmen, was forced to make port. The ship was carrying beans, chocolate and chocolate-making equipment.
The first record of chocolate being sold in London, England. Shortly afterwards, England captures the Caribbean island of Jamaica and imports cocoa.
A public house in Boston starts selling chocolate produced in Europe.
Boston merchants start to import cocoa beans, marking the advent of chocolate production in the American colonies.
Benjamin Franklin is selling chocolate out of his printing shop in Philadelphia.
A hand-operated chocolate machine is advertised for sale in a Boston newspaper.
Carl von Linne (Linnaeus) also known as the “father of modern taxonomy,” gives cacao the botanical name Theobroma cacao, translated as “cacao, food of the gods.”
During the French and Indian War, Benjamin Franklin procures chocolate for the British soldiers fighting the French.
George Washington makes his first chocolate order of 20 pounds to serve to guests for breakfast at Mount Vernon and continues to order chocolate until his death in 1799. He also orders cocoa shells for his wife, Martha, who makes a cocoa tea from them.
Thomas Jefferson enjoys chocolate and believes that it would become a more popular drink in America than coffee and tea.
Meriwether Lewis writes about drinking chocolate to improve his health during the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Dutch chemist, Coenraad van Houten, patents a process to separate cocoa butter from cocoa solids to produce defatted cocoa.
J. S. Fry & Sons, Ltd., develop the first solid chocolate bar by blending together cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar.
Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural ball features chocolate in three forms: a solid chocolate pyramid, chocolate ice cream and a chocolate drink.
Swiss chocolate maker Rodolphe Lindt invents the process of conching, which blends chocolate into a smooth, more palatable finished product.
Swiss confectioner Jean Tobler develops the process of tempering chocolate, producing the shiny finish and “snap” when a chocolate bar is broken.
A common North American restaurant menu offers a hamburger steak for $1.50 and coffee, tea, or chocolate for 25 cents a cup.
Helena Viola Sachse publishes “How to cook for the Sick and Convalescent,” which includes numerous chocolate recipes.
Ellen Duff publishes “A Course in Household Arts,” which includes extensive information on cocoa and chocolate.
Sarah Tyson Rorer publishes “World’s Fair Souvenir Cookbook” with recipes for chocolate mousse, iced chocolate, cake, ice cream, icing and pudding.
Frank Mars begins his candy-making venture in the kitchen of his Tacoma, Washington, home.
Chocolate is listed on the menu for the Titanic.
During a Brazilian jungle expedition in 1913, Theodore Roosevelt listed rations for five men that included 16 ounces of chocolate each week.
Chocolate serving jugs are part of the dining items aboard the Lusitania.
Frank Mars and Forrest Mars, Sr., create their first big hit, the Milky Way bar.
The New York Cocoa Exchange is established at the World Trade Center to enable commercial transactions between cocoa buyers and cocoa sellers.
United Press International reports that Charles Lindbergh drank hot chocolate aboard the Spirit of St. Louis.
The Snickers bar is introduced, followed by the Mars almond bar, and the 3 Musketeers bar in 1932.
Ruth Wakefield, at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, creates the first chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Amelia Earhart enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate at 8,000 feet during her solo flight from Hawaii to Oakland, California.
The menu on the Hindenburg lists a dessert of pears conde with chocolate.
World War II rationing includes chocolate: in Europe it is rationed to 4 ounces per person per week.
Forrest Mars, Sr., creates M&M’s brand chocolate candies.
Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest and buried chocolate to appease the gods on Mt. Everest.
Explorers Jacques Picard and Don Walsh descended 6.7 miles in the vessel Trieste to the bottom of the Mariana Trench reaching the lowest point on earth. Prior to returning to the surface, they feasted on chocolate bars.
Forrest Jr., John, and Jacquie Mars introduce Twix caramel cookie bars, followed by the acquisition of the Dove chocolate brand in 1986.
M&M’s brand chocolate candies are included in the first space shuttle mission, and every subsequent flight. They are included in NASA’s space food system and are featured on the International Space Station menu.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration establishes a standard of identity for white chocolate.
Mars Chocolate develops AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate, an authentic historic chocolate brand fashioned from chocolate recipes of the mid-1700s.
“Chocolate History, Culture and Heritage” is published and becomes the definitive reference for American chocolate history.
Mars, IBM, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture complete a two-year effort to sequence and annotate the cocoa genome. The genome was placed on public domain.
Mars Chocolate breaks ground for a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Topeka, Kansas. The plant began producing M&Ms and Snickers in 2014.
Mars unveils Natural Locomotion Steel Horse coffee infused with 150mg of cocoa flavanols.
Mars opens its first chocolate factory in Saudi Arabia.
Flaviola Consortium unveils new research that cocoa flavanols can keep hearts healthy.
Mars Chocolate celebrates the 75th anniversary of its popular M&Ms brand.
Mars unveils “Sustainable in a Generation Plan” with a $1 billion pledge to tackle climate change and other societal threats.
Chocolate industry sales worldwide expected to hit nearly $138 billion by 2019, with research showing increasing demand for dark and premium chocolate.