Easter is famous for chocolate. It is the most famous edible creation ever invented. It has become one of the most popular food types and flavours in the world, and a vast number of foodstuffs involving chocolate have been created.
Short history of chocolate
Chocolate may be the "food of the gods", but for most of its 4,000-year history, it was actually consumed as a bitter beverage rather than as a sweet edible treat.
Anthropologists have found evidence that chocolate was produced by pre-Olmec cultures living in present-day Mexico as early as 1900 B.C. The ancient Mesoamericans who first cultivated cacao plants in the tropical rainforests of Central America fermented, roasted and ground the cacao beans into a paste that they mixed with water, vanilla, honey, chili peppers and other spices to brew a frothy chocolate drink.
Chocolate remained an aristocratic nectar until 1828, when Dutch chemist, Coenraad Johannes van Houten, invented the cocoa press, which revolutionised chocolate-making.
The cocoa press could squeeze the fatty cocoa butter from roasted cacao beans, leaving behind a dry cake that could be pulverized into a fine powder that could be mixed with liquids and other ingredients, poured into moulds and solidified into edible, easily-digestible chocolate.
The innovation by Van Houten ushered in the modern era of chocolate resulting in cheaper production costs making chocolate affordable to the masses.
In 1847, British chocolate company, J.S. Fry & Sons, created the first solid edible chocolate bar from cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar.
Rodolphe Lindt's 1879 invention of the conching machine, which produced chocolate with a velvety texture and superior taste, and other advances, allowed for the mass production of smooth, creamy milk chocolate on factory assembly lines.
Pictured Left: Coenraad Johannes van Houten's cocoa press (1828). Pictured Right: Rodolphe Lindt's chocolate conching machine (1879).
Lindt Chocolate Classes
A first of its kind in South Africa and for LINDT worldwide, the chocolate classes at Lindt Chocolate Shop in Cape Town and Johannesburg are the perfect destination to experience decadent LINDT Chocolate.
Perfect as a gift, a corporate team-building experience or just for yourself - these fun and indulgent classes present chocolate lovers with an opportunity to gain insight into and obtain a better understanding of the secret world of chocolate and its confections. Choose from a wide range of classes to suit different preferences and budgets.
The LINDT Chocolate Appreciation Class, Art of Macaron Making and the Art of Cupcake Making are some of the most popular classes on offer.
The Chocolate Classes are broken down into the following categories:
Unique Chocolate Works of Art
Take a look at First Car Rental's list of the world's most extraordinary chocolate creations to inspire you. From chocolate Lego to life-size chocolate furniture and everything wonderful in between. Enjoy!
1. Cocoa Couture
Every year, the Salon du Chocolat Trade Fair opens with a chocolate catwalk fashion show that features mouth-watering designs by some of the world's top chocolatiers. These beautiful edible gowns are made entirely out of chocolate.
2. Chocolate Masks
Inspired by the greatest mask traditions around the work, artists Iva and Petar Mandic have created a stunning chocolate mask collection. Their creations are almost too beautiful to eat...
3. Chocolate Tools
Pasticceria Grandazzi are an artisan chocolaterie based in n Domodossola, Italy. They specialise in creating unique chocolate works of art, like these realistic edible tools, which are made entirely out of chocolate.
4. Chocolate Paint Tubes
Art really does become delicious with these perfect paint tubes created by Japanese design firm, Nendo. Instead of paint, each tube contains a different flavored caramel or syrup matching the color of its label, ranging from green tea to strawberry to honey.
5. Chocolate Burger
Everything on this burger, including the bun, lettuce and tomato, is made from chocolate.
6. Chocolate Shoes
These chocolate Nike trainers were created by artist PLus41 for the 25th anniversary of Nike's Air Force 1. The Belgian chocolate stilettos on the right were designed by UK-based chocolatier, Choc Chick.
7. Chocolate Pencils
These chocolate pencils were designed by Nendo (the same designers behind the paint tubes) for a popular restaurant in Japan. The restaurant owner wanted to create a plate to show off the beauty of the restaurant's desserts, like a painting on a canvas. The pencils come in a number of cocoa blends that vary in intensity, and chocophiles can use the special pencil sharpener that comes with the dish to grate chocolate onto their dessert.
Pencil filings are usually the unwanted remains of sharpening a pencil but in this case they're the star!
8. Chocolate Lego
Illustrator and designer Akihiro Mizuuchi has created the world's first edible chocolate Lego set, with blocks that come in four chocolate variations - caramel, dark, milk and white chocolate.
9. Life-size Chocolate Sofa
This 250kg edible chocolate sofa was commissioned by Galaxy Chocolate in the UK to launch their Irresistible Reads campaign to give away one million books. The sofa was on show at Victoria Embankment in London.
10. Incredible Eggs
Easter inspires some amazing chocolate egg creations, including the two eggs featured above. Pictured Left: Master French Chocolatier Thierry Atlan and his team spent over two weeks painstakingly creating and hand-painting this Easter egg. Standing at 80cm tall, the egg consists of over 20kg of white, dark and milk chocolate with intricately painted, edible 3-D rabbits, clocks and gold detailed designs, which are visible inside and outside of the egg. The one-of-a-kind egg sold for US$5 000.
Pictured Right: Heston Blumenthal's 2016 Easter egg creation is a lot more affordable, priced at £20, but unfortunately only available from Waitrose in the UK. The gorgeous dark chocolate egg is decorated in edible gold on the outside. When the egg is cracked open, there are six mandarin ganache chocolate filled mini eggs inside, resting on a bed of edible straw.
Heading to the Western Cape this Easter holiday? Read First Car Rental's guide to Route 62, the scenic alternative to the busy N2.