"I use to live in Manchester. I moved to Florida and ive been going to Van Otis for 15 years. Ive never had bad service, everyone I have had has always been very helpful. We don’t have any Van Otis’s in Florida so sometimes I will order online. Never had any problems, everything well packaged. Every year I go on vacation to NH I make it a point to go to Van Otis."

-Arlene MacElman

History of Chocolate

Swiss-Fudge_MilkGreek for “food of the Gods,” origins of the Cacao tree can be traced back 4,000 years. It’s believed that the Olmecs (the oldest civilization of the Americas) were the first users of cacao. Recent linguistic findings suggest the word “Cacao” is derived from the Olmec word kakawa.

Chocolate was passed down from the Olmec to the Mayan civilizations where cacao-based drinks similar to coffee were made. Archaeologists found evidence of this in drinking vessels containing illustrated chocolate etchings dating back to 250 A.D. Cacao beans had great value in ancient Mexico and were used as currency to purchase items, services, and animals. The great Aztec emperor Montezuma loved chocolate so much that he consumed 50 cups each day! Many people in rural Mexico still prepare chocolate the way their ancestors did.

Christopher Columbus discovered the cacao bean for Europe on his fourth trip to the New World. Also in the 1500’s the Spanish put their own twist on Montezuma’s chocolate by adding spices and flavors such as sugar, cinnamon, almonds, and milk.

Around the 17th century colonial chefs used the cacao bean in stews and sauces. The most famous chocolate recipe of this time was created by Sor Andrea de la Asuncion who made a special dish for the visiting Viceroy of New Spain. She used 100 of her best ingredients, including chocolate, to create a sauce for the turkey she selected. No one knows why she chose chocolate, but some believe she got the idea from local Indians. This meal became Mexico’s national dish.

Through the eighteenth century chocolate had yet to be served in solid form. Starting in 1867, it took Daniel Peter of Vevey Switzerland over ten years of experimentation to successfully combine milk solids with chocolate to produce solid milk chocolate as we know it today. The difficulty was in getting the dairy fats of milk to become stable in combination with vegetable fats of cocoa butter. Peter worked with Henri Nestlé in what eventually became the Nestlé corporation and the beginnings of world milk chocolate popularity. In the early 1900’s Peter and Nestle’s began producing solid chocolate in the United States.

Eternal popularity of milk chocolate was assured when the U.S. military put chocolate in ration packages for servicemen in both World Wars, because it doesn’t spoil; could easily fit in a coat pocket; and of course tastes great!