Chocolate, cocoa bean.
The first to cultivate cocoa were the olmeceans who lived at the Gulf Coast in Mexico. The cocoa has probably been a trade item, as large amounts of stone, jade and other items have been found outside their home area. Recently, jars of organic residues have been found. The residues were examined for their content of theobromine . The cocoa tree is the only plant native to Central America that contains theobromim. Two samples were positive. Namely from El Manati on the Gulf Coast and Pasoda la Amada on the Pacific Ocean. With these samples, the time of cocoa cultivation has returned to at least 1500 BC, perhaps even 1750-1900 BC. Cocoa was thus part of the first Mesoamerican civilization. Otherwise, the earliest documented finding of cocoa from Belize 600 after Kr.
The Aztecs made a drink they called cacahuaatl '  of roasted cocoa beans, water and various ingredients, such as chili, vanilla, various herbs and flowers. The ingredients were whipped together into a cold, brownish mass. Where the drink was successful came a top with foam. The word chocolate has emerged after the Spaniards' conquest of the Aztec Empire (1519-1521). The last part let / ade comes from the Aztec word for water, atl. The first part choko is of uncertain origin. Often the origin of an Aztec word is laid out in chocolatl or xocoatl , which should mean bitter water. There is no evidence for this in classical Aztec sources such as Sahágun or Molina's dictionary. Linguistically you cannot change the sound x [sj] to ch [tj] in classical Aztec. If x had changed it should also have been a s-sound.
The first step in the preparation is to cut the cocoa beans with the surrounding flesh out of the cocoa fruits. The beans and the surrounding pulp are fermented together. The fruits are collected in baskets or fermentation boxes, here they are covered with banana leaves. The beans get the brown color during fermentation. In addition, it removes the germination capacity of the beans and promotes the cocoa flavor. After fermentation, the beans are dried in the sun. Next, the cocoa beans must be roasted and split. After this process, the skull can be more easily removed and during the roasting various flavoring agents are formed. The mass that remains is called the cocoa mass. The cocoa mass consists of approx. equal parts of cocoa powder and cocoa butter. The two components are separated by pressing. Chocolate is then prepared from varying amounts of cocoa and cocoa butter, as well as sugar, nuts or other ingredients.
Romantic legends identify chocolate as an aphrodisiac . The chocolate's infamous aphrodisiac qualities are most often associated with the simple, sensual pleasure of ingestion. In addition, the sweet and fatty nature of chocolate may stimulate the hypothalamus , by sensation of pleasure, as well as by the influence of serotonin levels. Serotonin has an effect of pleasure; In high concentrations, it can be converted to melatonin , which reduces the sexual desire in large quantities. Chocolate has been shown to contain unsaturated N- acyl ethanolamines which can activate cannabinoid receptors or increase the level of endocannabinoids , resulting in increased sensitivity and euphoria . Although there is no evidence that chocolate is really an aphrodisiac, chocolate gifts are a familiar courtesy ritual.
Chocolate and animals
Unlike humans, common animals such as dogs , cats and horses cannot tolerate chocolate because of the cocoa's natural content of the substances theobromine and caffeine , which together with theophylline belong to the group of methylxanthine alkaloids. Theobromine stimulates the central nervous system by releasing adrenaline .
In dogs and cats, theobromine is absorbed through the liver and returned to the intestine with the bile, to start a new round. Instead of secreting the substances, the animal ends up in a poisoning cycle. In humans, the substances are secreted within 2-3 hours, at 14-20 hours in dogs and cats.
Adrenaline can in animals cause increased heart rate, hallucinations , severe diarrhea , epileptic seizures, myocardial infarction, internal bleeding and even death. Ca. 30 g of pure chocolate (equal to about 2 g of cocoa) per. kg body weight can cause serious poisoning in animals.
Chocolate and health
There has been much debate about whether dark chocolate has health promoting properties. And there are actually some studies that support this. The polyphenolic substances found in cocoa and dark chocolate have been shown in cell experiments to be able to protect against oxidative stress. The polyphenols found in dark chocolate fight free radicals, thus preventing these substances from destroying the cells' membranes, proteins and genetic material. Dark chocolate also has a beneficial effect on the heart and circulation. Eg. can dark chocolate and cocoa lower blood pressure a little (2 - 3 mm Hg) and improve cholesterol levels