American-made chocolate and cocoa(可可) products number in the hundreds. There is a fascinating(迷人的)story behind these wonderful products.
The story of chocolate, as far back as we know it, begins with the discovery of America. Until 1492, the Old World(指欧洲大陆，相对于美洲大陆)knew nothing at all about the delicious and stimulating flavor(富有刺激性的口味) that was to become the favorite of millions.
The Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella got its first look at the principal ingredient(调料、原料)of chocolate when Columbus returned in triumph from America and laid before the Spanish throne(王位)a treasure trove of many strange and wonderful things. Among these were a few dark brown beans(豆)that looked like almonds(杏仁)and seemed most unpromising(无指望的). They were cocoa beans, today's source of all our chocolate and cocoa.
The King and Queen never dreamed how important cocoa beans could be, and it remained for Hernando Cortez(科尔特斯), the great Spanish explorer, to grasp(把握住)the commercial possibilities of the New World offerings.
During his conquest of Mexico, Cortez found the Aztec Indians(阿兹特克印第安人)using cocoa beans in the preparation of the royal drink of the realm, "chocolate," meaning warm liquid. In 1519, Emperor Montezuma, who reportedly drank 50 or more portions daily, served(提供，招待) chocolate to his Spanish guests in great golden goblets(高脚杯), treating it like a food for the gods.
For all its regal(王室的) importance, however, Montezuma's chocolate was very bitter(苦), and the Spaniards did not find it to their taste. To make the concoction(调制品) more agreeable to Europeans, Cortez and his countrymen conceived the idea of sweetening it with cane sugar.
The new drink quickly won friends, especially among the Spanish aristocracy(贵族). Spain wisely proceeded to plant cacao in its overseas colonies, which gave birth to a very profitable(利润高的) business. Remarkably enough, the Spanish succeeded in keeping the art of the cocoa industry a secret from the rest of Europe for nearly a hundred years.
During World War II, the US government recognized chocolate's role in the nourishment(营养品)and group spirit(士气、团队精神) of the Allied Armed Forces, so much so that(到这样的程度以至于)it allocated valuable shipping space(分配宝贵的船舱空间)for the importation(运输) of cocoa beans. Many soldiers were thankful for the pocket chocolate bars(块、条) which gave them the strength to carry on until more food rations(配给)could be obtained. Today, the US Army D-rations(美国陆军D类配给食品) include three 4-ounce chocolate bars(4盎司巧克力块)late has even been taken into space as part of the diet(食品供应、食谱)astronauts(宇航员).