As you probably already know, chocolate is not natural to Europe. Christopher Columbus brought back the use of chocolate from his exploration of the Americas in 1502. Mesoamerican’s had been using the plant to flavor and enhance their foods since 1750 BC. Aztec and Inca populations were known to drink the substance and use it to coat various fruits and nuts to make them more enjoyable to eat. So while Columbus did not discover the gold he hoped to find (Though others later did) he did bring back an economic boom to Europe that would surface a century later.
In Europe, they profess that the original Chocolate covered raisin was mentioned in the Germanic speaking regions where they were mentioned in a children’s folktale kleine Schokokugeln. In a Christmas prayer the treat is referred to as, “my little chocolate balls, oh, how nobly you glorify the fruit hanging down. My vineyard weeps with good cheer at the gift from Heaven”. Ah, maybe it losses a little in translation. At least, let’s hope it was raisins they were coating in chocolate. I am a little worried about the term, “hanging fruit”.
While I have a little problem with the dateline, there is no doubt that one of the most popular treats in central Germany is the chocolate covered raisin. Today it is hard to imagine any real holiday passing without a glass bowl of chocolate covered raisins set out on a table. It’s hard to imagine a bridge game without chocolate covered raisins.
Today, we coat nearly everything in chocolate. I’m pretty sure the Inca’s never thought about covering bugs that crawl on the ground with chocolate but it’s fairly common today. Of course, who looked at a dried up grape and said to themselves, “Oh, I bet that would taste good!” I don’t know about you but I like my raisins covered up with chocolate so I don’t have to look at them in the natural state. Under normal circumstances, when I see something all wrinkled up, black or brown in color, and laying on the ground where it fell I’m not going to run over, pick it up and put it in my mouth! However, I am glad someone did!