Chocolate and orange, a match made in heaven. This is a classic and timeless flavour combination, but where did it all begin?
Chocolate orange – a match made in heaven
While some chocolate pairings are of more modern innovation, chocolate and orange are a pair that are so naturally matched, and one of which the origin is rarely considered.
In this blog, we’ll delve into the history of chocolate and orange and this amazing flavour combination.
Delicious oranges, where did they originate?
The orange tree originated in a region encompassing Southern China, Northeast India and Myanmar.
The earliest mention of the sweet orange was in Chinese literature in 314 BC.
By the 1400s, oranges became a staple on the trade route between China and continental Europe, and became a celebrated commodity among privileged and wealthy Europeans.
As of 1987, orange trees were documented to be the most cultivated fruit tree in the world.
Orange trees are widely grown in tropical and subtropical climates for their sweet fruit. The fruit of the orange tree can be eaten fresh, or processed for its juice or fragrant peel.
As of 2012, sweet oranges accounted for approximately 70% of citrus production.
Chocolate, one of the worlds finest ingredients.
The history of chocolate began in Mesoamerica, where the cacao tree is native.
Records show that fermented beverages made from cacao date back to 450 BC.
But, it wasn’t until the 16th century that the cacao tree became known to Europeans.
Christopher Columbus encountered the cacao bean on his fourth mission to the Americas on August 15, 1502, when he and his crew seized a large native canoe that proved to contain among other goods for trade, cacao beans.
When did chocolate come to Europe?
Following the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, cacao began to be imported into Europe.
In the beginning, Spaniards would use it as a medicine to treat illnesses such as abdominal pain because it had a bitterness to it.
Within about a hundred years, this fine ingredient had secured its position throughout Europe.
You can read about how the cacao bean is turned into chocolate here
Putting chocolate and orange together
Once sweetened, cacao was transformed. The addition of sugar or honey counteracted the natural bitterness.
Spanish Royalty then began to mix sweetened cacao powder with orange flower water.
This chocolate orange flower water cocktail was the first in a long line of citrus and chocolate pairings that now have an iconic place in the world of chocolate.
A huge fan base has formed around this flavour combination. Subsequently, the pairing is continually developed into new products; from chocolate bars to drinks, cakes to cookies, cheesecakes to pancakes and even toiletries and room fragrances.
The possibilities are endless.
You can read how we decorate our Chocolate Orange Christmas Cake here.
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