Chilli flavoured chocolate: Love it or hate it?
Maybe something you’ve never even thought to indulge in. Chilli chocolate has gained popularity over recent years, but you might be surprised to know it dates back much further than you might think. This particular confectionery has actually been consumed worldwide for hundreds and thousands of years, originating from Central and South America.
Somewhere between 250-900 CE; The Mayans were the first to record using chillies in their chocolates. They fermented and ground the cocoa beans and mixed them with grounded chilli peppers and water to create a drink with a spicy kick.
This spicy chocolate beverage was passed down hundreds of years and was increasingly popular amongst the Aztecs. They called the delicacy ‘xocolatl’ which means ‘bitter water’. Back then, the Aztecs had nothing to sweeten the drink with but it was still very popular and seen as a drink of power and status; being drunk almost exclusively by Aztec rulers, priests and other elites.
Hundreds of years later the beverage reached Europe. This was when the idea to add sugar to reduce the bitterness of the cacao was discovered. Then soon after, they discovered if you melted the cocoa down into a paste and added fats it would solidify it – and alas; the creation of the chocolate bar.
Chocolate confectionery soon became the world’s most highly-priced confectionery and only consumed by the very elite few; the most expensive being from Switzerland, Italy and Belgium (not dissimilar to today).
The adding of chillies in chocolate recipes was dropped across European countries as they found the taste to be too selective. However, over the last few decades it has become an increasingly popular confectionery. The aromatic intensity of the dark chocolate, balanced with a hint of chilli delivers a very unique taste experience for all.
Try it for yourself
If you’re a fan, come on down to the Best of Devon Chilli, Cheese, Chocolate and Coffee festival to indulge in a spicy-sweet treat. Not convinced? Come down anyway for hundreds of samples and let us change your opinion on the spiced delicacy. You may surprise yourself and your taste buds.