After the Spanish conquest, the Spanish conquistadors began to add cane sugar to the chocolate in order to make it sweeter and more agreeable to their taste preference. The new formula was very popular.
It is said that the Spanish ladies of the New World were so addicted to chocolate that they sometimes brought it with them to church. This practice drew condemntation from the Church authorites who thought that it violated the requirement to fast. However, the Reverend Father Escobar declared, formally, that afast was not broken by chocolate prepared with water; thus wire-drawing,in favor of his penitents, the ancient adage, 'Liquidum non frangit
From the Mexican colonies, the use of chocolate quickly spread to Spain and eventually the rest of Europe. In this early period, chocolate referred only to the drink as solid chocolate had not yet been invented.
Chocolate quickly became popular in Europe, where it was regarded as a healthy drink.
From Spain, the use of chocolate spread to France and then other countries.
M. Brillat-Savarin, in his entertaining and valuable work, Physiologie
du Goût, says: "Chocolate came over the mountains [from Spain to
France] with Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III and queen of Louis
XIII. The Spanish monks also spread the knowledge of it by the presents
they made to their brothers in France. It is well known that the early scientist Linnĉus
called the fruit of the cocoa tree theobroma, 'food for the gods.'
Baron von Liebig, one of the earliest writers on nutrition and diet stated believed that chocolate was the "perfect food". He stated:
"It is a perfect food, as wholesome as delicious, a beneficient restorer
of exhausted power; but its quality must be good and it must be
carefully prepared. It is highly nourishing and easily digested, and is
fitted to repair wasted strength, preserve health, and prolong life. It
agrees with dry temperaments and convalescents; with mothers who nurse
their children; with those whose occupations oblige them to undergo
severe mental strains; with public speakers, and with all those who give
to work a portion of the time needed for sleep. It soothes both stomach
and brain, and for this reason, as well as for others, it is the best
friend of those engaged in literary pursuits."
"Time and experience," he says further, "have shown that chocolate,
carefully prepared, is an article of food as wholesome as it is
agreeable; that it is nourishing, easy of digestion, and does not
possess those qualities injurious to beauty with which coffee has been
reproached; that it is excellently adapted to persons who are obliged to
a great concentration of intellect; in the toils of the pulpit or the
bar, and especially to travellers; that it suits the most feeble
stomach; that excellent effects have been produced by it in chronic
complaints, and that it is a last resource in affections of the pylorus.
Chocolate appears to have been highly valued as a medicine by the
leading physicians of that day. Christoph Ludwig Hoffman wrote a
treatise entitled, "Potus Chocolate," in which he recommended it in many
diseases, and instanced the case of Cardinal Richelieu, who, he stated,
was cured of general atrophy by its use.
In Renaissance Europe, chocolate came to be known as the "milk
of old men" because its use had become so common that it was perceived
that chocolate is, with respect to them, what milk is to infants. However some doctors of the time went so far as to say that "In
reality, if one examines the nature of chocolate a little, with respect
to the constitution of aged persons, it seems as though the one was made
on purpose to remedy the defects of the other, and that it is truly the
panacea of old age."
In 1847, an English company introduced solid "eating chocolate" through the development of fondant chocolate, which has now almost completely replaced the old rough grained chocolate. Then in 1876, in Switzerland, came a truly revolutionary breakthrough. Daniel Peter invented a method of adding milk to the chocolate, thus creating the product we enjoy today known as milk chocolate
These improvments led to the creation of the modern chocolate industry and the creation of products that are familiar to use today including chocolate bars. Now chocolate could be packaged and sold by itself rather than as a drink.
Chocolate is now no longer regarded as mainly a health food. However it continues to have used beyond making Easter Eggs and filling boxes of chocolate. During World War II (in an era before Meals Ready to Eat) American soldiers were given chocolate as part of their rations, because of the energy boost that it could provide. Chocolate has even gone into outer space as part of the ration packs for Russian cosmonauts.