One might not naturally make a connection when it comes to America’s historical homes and a popular dessert, but when you learn about the history of chocolate in colonial America, the relationship seems obvious. I recently traveled to The Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee with American Heritage Chocolate to learn about the home of President Andrew Jackson and the history of chocolate in Colonial America and came away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for both. The Hermitage is not your typical presidential site and American Heritage Chocolate is not your typical chocolate which makes the relationship a special one indeed.
Disclosure: I traveled to Nashville on behalf of American Heritage Chocolate and The Hermitage. All opinions are 100% my own.
Visiting The Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee with American Heritage Chocolate
History of Chocolate
The history of chocolate dates back thousands of years to the Americas, where the origins of chocolate were included in the religious prophecies of the Mayan, Toltec, Olmec, and Aztec cultures. In 1519, the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés discovered the Aztecs were using cocoa beans as currency and noticed they were drinking the ground cocoa beans. Cortés did what any good explorer would have done. He returned to Spain in 1528 to present King Carlos V with the cocoa beans and introduced Europe to chocolate.
By the 1600s, America began to import chocolate and cocoa beans, and by 1735 Benjamin Franklin was selling chocolate out of his print shop in Philadelphia. At this time, people were drinking their chocolate since it was not produced as a chocolate bar until the 1800s. American Heritage Chocolate has created an authentic line of products developed from chocolate recipes dating to the 1750s flavored with a blend of spices and ingredients that would have been available during colonial times. Some of the flavors you can taste in the chocolate include nutmeg, anise, vanilla, orange, and chili pepper, which makes for a mildly spicy, slightly sweet flavor. The brand wanted to celebrate what famous Americans like George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson would have enjoyed as a chocolate beverage by using all natural ingredients and exotic spices that were found in chocolate recipes of the colonial time period.