Chocolate History 101: Key Milestones from Ancient to Modern Times

Chocolate, a ubiquitous product in today’s global market, has a multifaceted history spanning thousands of years. To fully appreciate its current role in the world economy and in confectionery innovation, it’s essential to understand its journey. This article delves into key events that have shaped the trajectory of chocolate from ancient Mesoamerica to its contemporary iterations. As research progresses and more insights come to light, we commit to updating this timeline to offer the most comprehensive view.

The Timeline of Chocolate’s Delicious History

  • 1500 BCE – Olmec Era: The Olmecs, one of the earliest Mesoamerican civilizations, are believed to have been the first to cultivate cocoa trees. They enjoyed the goodness of chocolate even before it became the global delight that it is today.
  • 250 CE – Mayan Peak: The Mayans crafted a ritualistic beverage from cacao beans, which they fondly named “Theobroma” or ‘food of the gods’. This spiritual drink held a special place in Mayan culture.
  • 700 CE – Cacao as Currency: Demonstrating the importance of chocolate in their society, the Mayans began using cacao beans as a tangible form of currency.
  • 900 CE – Rise of the Toltecs: After the decline of Mayan cities, the Toltecs rose to prominence, inheriting the cacao cultivation and rituals. Their ruler, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, became synonymous with the cacao god, strengthening the bond between cacao and religious beliefs.
  • 1519 – Aztecs & Cortés: The age of exploration brought Hernán Cortés to the Aztecs. He discovered ‘xocolatl’, a prized Aztec chocolate drink. By 1528, this luxurious beverage made its way to Spain, enhanced with sugar and spices.
  • 1657 – England’s Chocolate Scene: The English embraced chocolate, opening the very first chocolate house in London. This became a trendy spot for social events and gatherings.
  • 1720 – French Solid Chocolate: France took chocolate innovation a step further by introducing solid forms of chocolate, which became a favorite among the French court.
  • 1779 – First Woman Chocolate Maker: Breaking the gender mold, Rebecca Gomez emerged as the first known woman to make and sell her own chocolate in the U.S.
  • 1875 – Swiss Milk Chocolate: A collaborative effort between Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé resulted in the invention of mouth-watering milk chocolate, thanks to the use of condensed milk.
  • 1900 – Hershey’s Mass Production: Chocolate underwent a massive transformation in the U.S. with Milton Hershey’s mass production of milk chocolate bars.
  • 1940-1945 – WWII & Chocolate: A symbol of comfort and morale, chocolate was distributed to soldiers and civilians during World War II. This era also saw advancements in shelf-stable chocolate bars.
  • 2000 – Ethical Chocolate Rise: As the new millennium began, there was a growing emphasis on ethical chocolate production. Fair-trade and sustainable farming practices started gaining momentum.

The trajectory of chocolate from ancient rituals to its current prominence in global markets is a reflection of both cultural adaptations and industry innovations. As professionals in the chocolate industry, having a grasp of this historical context can provide valuable insights into current trends and future possibilities. As the story of chocolate continues to unfold, we will ensure our timeline remains a dynamic and invaluable resource, capturing new details and insights. Let’s continue to study, innovate, and appreciate the complexities and potential of this remarkable commodity.


Top 7 Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers in Washington State

Washington state is home to a thriving bean-to-bar chocolate scene. These companies are committed to using high-quality cacao beans and sustainable practices to create some of the most delicious and innovative chocolate in the world.

Here is a list of seven of the top bean-to-bar chocolate companies in Washington:

Indi chocolate

  • Founder: Erin Andrews
  • Year established: 2010
  • Headquarters: 1901 Western Ave D, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
  • Website:

Indi chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker that sources its cacao beans directly from farmers and roasts and grinds them in-house. They offer a wide variety of chocolate products, including bars, truffles, drinking chocolate, and chocolate body care products. They also offer chocolate making classes and events. Their cafe and factory is located in Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.

Theo chocolate

  • Founder: Joe Whinney, Jeff Fairhall, and Debra Music
  • Year established: 2005
  • Headquarters: 3400 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
  • Website:

Theo chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker that sources its cacao beans directly from farmers and roasts and grinds them in-house. They offer a wide variety of chocolate products, including bars, truffles, drinking chocolate, and chocolate baking ingredients. They also offer chocolate making classes and events. Their flagship store is located in Fremont, Seattle, Washington.

Spinnaker chocolate

  • Founder: Chris and Kelly Van Arsdale
  • Year established: 2019
  • Headquarters: 2101 4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
  • Website:

Spinnaker Chocolate is a family-owned and operated bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Seattle, Washington. They are committed to sustainability and donate a portion of their proceeds to cleaning up the ocean. They offer a wide variety of chocolate products, including bars, truffles, and drinking chocolate.

Intrigue chocolate co

  • Founder: Chef Aaron Barthel
  • Year established: 2005
  • Headquarters: 157 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
  • Website:

Intrigue Chocolate Co. is an artisanal chocolatier offering truffles & truffle bars in unique flavors, hot cocoa mixes & classes.

Seattle Chocolate Company

  • Founder: Jean Thompson
  • Year established: 2002
  • Headquarter location: 1180 Andover Park W, Seattle, WA 98188, USA
  • Website:

Seattle Chocolate Company is a retailer for locally made small-batch chocolate bars & truffles with natural ingredients.

JCOCO chocolate

  • Founder: Jean Thompson
  • Year established: 2012
  • Headquarters: 1180 Andover Park W, Seattle, WA 98188, USA
  • Website:

jcoco chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker that sources its cacao beans directly from farmers and roasts and grinds them in-house. They offer a wide variety of chocolate products, including bars, truffles, drinking chocolate, and chocolate baking ingredients. With a strong emphasis on social responsibility, JCOCO donates a segment of its earnings to alleviate hunger.

Fresco chocolate

  • Founder: Rob Anderson
  • Year established: 2012
  • Headquarters: 101 3rd St, Lynden, WA 98264, USA
  • Website:

Fresco Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker that sources its cacao beans directly from farmers and roasts and grinds them in-house. They offer a wide variety of chocolate products, including bars, truffles, drinking chocolate, and chocolate baking ingredients.

Final Thoughts

Washington state is a hotbed for bean-to-bar chocolate makers. The companies listed above are just a few of the many talented chocolatiers creating delicious and innovative chocolate in the Pacific Northwest.

Chocolate makers and industry professionals, mark your calendars for the 2023 Chocolate Makers UnConference at the Northwest Chocolate Festival. Team Giving Candy eagerly awaits to connect with you and delve deeper into your craft!


Chocolate Enterprise Growth: Partnering with Giving Candy

Here at Giving Candy, we’ve had the privilege to converse, learn from, and join hands with many in the chocolate community. These conversations and collaborations have truly shaped our journey. Today, we wish to delve deeper, highlighting collaboration opportunities that align with our goals and the business profiles we’re actively seeking to partner with for success.

Profiles We’re Eager to Collaborate With:

1. Bean-to-Bar:
At the intersection of ethics and quality lies the Bean-to-Bar model. If your venture thrives on sourcing cacao beans ethically to craft premium chocolate bars, and if wholesale and online sales are your arena, we could be an excellent match.

2. Bean-to-Bonbon:
For the talented chocolatiers out there, if your skillset revolves around wholesale, corporate gifting, immersive classes, and memorable events, there might be an opportunity to grow and innovate together.

3. Chocolate Ecosystem:
The chocolate industry is vast, stretching beyond just the end product. If your strengths lie in areas like growing cacao, packaging, logistics, consulting, distribution, or any other supporting domain, let’s discuss how we can coalesce our expertise.

Where Our Visions Might Align:

  • Are you a veteran chocolatier considering retirement in the next 5 years and seeking transition strategies that honor your legacy?
  • Do you have a solid online clientele and are pondering an expansion into new channels, requiring additional capital and talent?
  • Is your business regional, and you’re eyeing a national expansion?
  • Are you currently innovating with someone else’s chocolate to make your creations and have an interest in moving into direct bean sourcing and chocolate production?

Our framework is flexible. If you’re steering a thriving chocolate venture and are curious about how we can align, don’t hesitate to reach out. Every story is unique, and we’re here to listen.

Final Thoughts: Navigating Future Chocolate Collaborations

Giving Candy’s mission is rooted in forging meaningful, growth-centric partnerships within the chocolate domain. If your business ethos mirrors ours, we invite you to engage with us further. Contact us today via our website or drop us a line at!


8 Celebrities Who Love Chocolate: Their Favorite Brands and Flavors

Welcome to the world where fame meets the irresistible allure of chocolate. The preferences of celebrities often provide intriguing insights into their personal tastes, and when it comes to sweets, the fascination with chocolate remains a common thread among the A-listers. In this article, we delve into the chocolate cravings of renowned personalities, focusing on those who have developed a penchant for cocoa-infused treats. Join us on a journey through the refined palates of these celebrities as we explore their indulgent choices.

Embarking on a delightful journey into the world of celebrity indulgences, we uncover a shared passion that transcends the glitz and glamour of fame – a love for candy. These renowned personalities, known for their talent and influence, have a sweet spot for particular confections that pique their palates. In this article, we delve into the candy preferences of some of the biggest stars in the entertainment industry. From Reese’s to Twix, join us as we explore the sugary cravings that captivate the A-listers.

Delving into Celebrity Chocolate Cravings

  1. Beyoncé and the Irresistible Charm of Reese’s Even Queen Bey can’t resist the allure of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The fusion of velvety peanut butter and rich chocolate encapsulates her love for both elegance and comfort. Just like her music, Beyoncé’s choice exudes a harmonious blend of sophistication and relatability.
  2. Drake’s Rolo Connection: A Sweet Rhythm In the world of candy, Drake finds his rhythm with Rolo’s caramel-filled treats. The balance between smooth chocolate and gooey caramel mirrors his ability to seamlessly blend different elements in his music. Much like his lyrics, Drake’s candy preference strikes the perfect chord.
  3. Miley Cyrus’s Sweet Escape: Twix Candy Bars Guess what? It turns out that Twix is totally Miley Cyrus’ chocolate sweetheart! Yup, you read that right! The singer extraordinaire just can’t resist the fantastic mix of crunchy cookie, gooey caramel, and dreamy chocolate in a Twix. It’s her ultimate fave, and her childhood Halloween go-to treat!
  4. Taylor Swift’s Sweet Serenade: Mars Bars Taylor Swift’s affinity for Mars Bars is akin to the poetic narratives woven into her music. The layers of nougat, caramel, and chocolate mirror the layers of emotion in her songs. Just as her melodies capture hearts, her choice of candy captures the essence of indulgence.
  5. Rihanna’s Dynamic Craving: Snickers Rihanna’s dynamic energy finds its match in the satisfying crunch of Snickers bars. The fusion of peanuts, nougat, caramel, and chocolate resonates with her diverse talents and global influence. Just like her performances, Rihanna’s rumored choice of candy is a delightful amalgamation.
  6. Harry Styles and the Harmony of Twix The harmonious blend of Harry Styles’ persona finds its echo in Twix bars. The combination of crisp cookie, gooey caramel, and luscious chocolate aligns with his multifaceted presence. Styles’ candy choice exemplifies his ability to seamlessly merge different elements. Fans have even speculated that he keeps a few of the delectable candies with him at all times!
  7. Camila Cabello’s Chocolatey Snack Break: Kit Kats It’s a sweet fact that Kit Kats are none other than Camila Cabello’s absolute chocolate crush! The talented singer just can’t get enough of that iconic combo of crispy wafers and smooth chocolate. Whether it’s Halloween or any day, Kit Kats are her go-to treat for a seriously delightful time!
  8. Cyndi Lauper’s Coconut Crush: Almond Joy Get ready to dance to a chocolaty beat, because here’s a scrumptious scoop: Almond Joy is the chocolate obsession of none other than Cyndi Lauper! The iconic singer can’t resist the tropical flair of coconut and the nutty crunch of almonds, all smothered in rich chocolate. Whether she’s singing her heart out or indulging her sweet tooth, Almond Joy is her ultimate jam!

In deciphering the confluence of celebrity personas and confectionery preferences, we uncover profound lessons for our industry. Celebrities’ candid endorsements align with strategic branding, reflecting the synergy between their taste and the candy brands they choose.

Beyoncé’s Reese’s choice and Taylor Swift’s Mars Bars preference showcase the art of tasteful associations. Drake’s resonance with Rolo echoes rhythmic partnerships, while Miley Cyrus’s timeless Hershey’s affinity underscores cross-generational appeal.

Rihanna’s Snickers connection and Harry Styles’ Twix inclination exemplify dynamic parallels with their multifaceted careers. These instances offer industry insights on calculated collaborations.

By recognizing the strategic brilliance at play, we realize how these celebrity-candy unions translate into potent marketing. As we analyze these affiliations, we unearth the sweet spot of effective collaboration and tasteful synergy, vital for our industry’s success.