This is the Anni Arts blog dedicated to printable crafts. I want to share my passion with you and pass on tips, ideas, photos and articles for inspiring printables. I will also post articles about other crafts, folk art, design and art, as well as updates on many products that feature the Anni Arts designs.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I am a hopeless chocolate-lover. For others like me, I am writing a series of posts about the history of chocolate and chocolate wrappers.
I love to design choc wrappers, as they make an instant gift teamed with a nice choc slab. Naturally most of the Anni Arts ranges have chocolate wrappers! Download and print.
Don't miss the regular free wrappers with vintage images. Subscriber links from the blog. 


Brillat Savarin, the author of the "Physiologie du Goût," remarks: "The persons who habitually take chocolate are those who enjoy the most equable and constant health, and are least liable to a multitude of illnesses which spoil the enjoyment of life."

The cacao-tree grows wild in the forests of Central America, and varieties have also been found in Jamaica and other West Indian islands, and in South America. Father Gumilla, in his "History of the Orinoco (river)," says: "I have seen in these plains forests of wild cacao-trees, laden with bunches of pods, supplying food to an infinite multitude of monkeys, squirrels, parrots, and other animals."

The cacao-tree, when trained, grows similar in shape to a well-kept apple tree.  Left to nature, it will in good soil reach a height of over twenty feet, and its branches will extend for ten feet from the centre. The cacao leaves, at first a tender yellowish-brown, turn bright green, and grow fourteen to eighteen inches in length, or larger.

The Spaniards derived the knowledge of cocoa from the Mexicans and other inhabitants of Central America. The cocoa beans were used as currency and was the form in which tribute was paid. One of the storehouses of Montezuma, the last of the independent Mexican chieftains, was found by the Spaniards to contain as much as 40000 loads of this precious commodity.
The Aztecs also made use of cocoa in this way with as many as 8000 beans being legal tender. Imagine being the counters of the money ! In Nicaragua none but the rich and noble could afford to drink it, as it was literally drinking money.

Before planting the seed,the Maya held a festival in honour of their gods, Ekchuah, Chac, and Hobnil, who were their patron deities. In the plantation, a dog with a spot on its skin the colour of cacao was sacrificed. They also burned incense to their gods and each of the officials received a branch of the cacao plant.

The "Soconosco" district in Guatemala was earlier so noted for its cacao that the whole crop was monopolized for the use of the Spanish Court. In Central America, as in other countries, the Spaniards gathered more solid riches from the cacao than from the gold mines they hoped to discover.

The reason why the fruit was so highly regarded, was for the chocolate made from it.

As a drink it was esteemed above all else. Diverse types of chocholate were made, like hot, cold, and chilli cocoa of which they made a paste. At the royal banquets frothing chocolate was served in golden goblets with finely wrought golden or tortoise-shell spoons.

The froth in this case was of the consistency of honey, so that when eaten cold it would gradually   dissolve in the mouth.

Among other beverages produced from the cacao was a fermented drink much in vogue at the Mexican Court. From the accounts of the conquest, it seems that Montezuma greatly enjoyed this drink, as "after the hot dishes (300 in number) had been removed, every now and then was handed to him a golden pitcher filled with a kind of liquor made from cacao, which is very exciting."

One variety, called zaca, drunk by the Itzas, consisted of cocoa mixed with a fermented liquor prepared from maize; but a more harmless invention was a drink made of cocoa-butter and maize.

"Chocolate" is a much wider term than "cocoa," embracing both the food and the drink prepared from the cacao, and is the slightly modified Mexican name pronounced  "chocolatl". Chocolate was compounded of cacao, maize, and flavourings like red peppers or chillies to which the Spaniards, on discovering it, added sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and other ingredients, such as musk and ambergris, cloves and nutmegs, almonds and pistachios, anise.

To be continued : ) In the mean time: subscribe and come back to follow the links for some free choc wrappers.

Anni Arts has professionally designed and illustrated printable crafts, templates and graphics specially created for crafters by designer Anneke Lipsanen

Excerpt from: The Food of the Gods
A popuar account of cocoa by Brandon Head

Don't miss the Weekend Wrapper series free on this blog. Chocolate wrappers from Vintage graphics with many themes for all occasions! Nothing beats a nice choc slab as a quick gift. Start collecting your arsenal of wrappers.
Anni Arts has Valentine cardmaking kits, printables, chocolate wrappers and 3D cards.
• Printables created with vintage scraps, like
Vintage Valentines are part of the special Anni Arts Vintage ranges.
Find unique cardmaking kits, templates, scrapbooking, chocwrappers, wedding stationery, favors and ebooks to download and print. There's a super Anni Arts Printable Crafts Club, Licenses for Home Business Crafters and many Freebies for Art Mail Subscribers too. And if you like the designs, but are not a crafter, there are many ready goods and online scrapbooks to order.


Anonymous said...

There is a Japanese proverb that says, "Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods." I would like to add to that, "Time spent with (Godiva) chocolate is time spent with the gods." Thanks for sharing the history of chocolate. Happy Birthday, Anni and Anni Arts!! You always inspire me and bring a smile day whenever I create something beautiful because I do it with you!! I love you!! Celebrate!! Carol Evans

Karen said...

Chocolate and crafting don't normally mix (too messy!) but a chocolate drink goes down well whilst crafting. I went to a chocolate factory and the Incas used to love it too, good choice! Thanks for sharing your creative talents with us all.

Anni said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes and lovely comments above. Enjoy the fashion boot wrappers I am sending you both.
Yours forever in chocolate and art.

Andria said...

wow what great information about chocolate..lil ones love drinking there chocolate milo whilst nanny is crafting but they know to sit away lil bits from my desk..LOL..thanks for shairng not only your time but your talents n gifts with us hugz andria

Anni said...

Please everyone who commented make sure I have your email addresses to send your fashion wrappers to! Somehow I only got one email so far (I though I will automatically get them). Andria and Karen please send via Anni Arts contact so I can send your downloads!

I find choccies and crafting do mix
if I drink it from a sippy mug and regular breaks are in order for munching a bit away from the paper and paints. It keeps up one's strength and spirits for all that crafting and creating and all the exercising that by default then has to follow : )