Colonization of flavour



According to the English Oxford dictionary Colonization is the action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area. Traditionally we associate with colonization the processes in which Europeans took political and economic control over the resources and land of territories like the America and Africa, however, I will argue that even after the independence of these nations, a third wave of colonialism has continued in a more invisible form that liberal trade and modern globalization has allowed.


In the case of chocolate, like many other foods from the Americas, the food has been initially exported, but then it has been modified into a European adaptation and then is imported back as different product. In many cases, the prime producers end up being the consumers of their own production.


Modern globalization and liberal policies that suppose to inactivate trade and economic growth end up hurting the Third World economies, especially the producers. In the case of chocolate, a product that requires such a specific manual labor and is not well paid, their cacao end up losing a lot at the end of this equation. But when did this equation went wrong? Wasn’t chocolate a sacred product for the Mayans?


Adaptation to the European taste


As we talked in previous classes at the beginning the it was the flavour of cacao that had to conquer the the european colonists, once the cacao flavor was imported to Europe, it was in places like Great Britain, Spain and France that the flavor and the consistency started to be transformed and adapted to  different waves of an European demand. In contrast to more regional american species, the european demand for chocolate started to take a more sugary recipe that changed the history and flavor of chocolate forever. An example of this is the chocolate bar and the cocoa powder.

Hand and hand with this sugar production and demand increased in the 18 C.




Evolution of a flavor


Several innovations in the industrialization of food revolutionized the flavors, the diets and the consumer pattern of a lot of the population around the world.

Industrialization had a “significant impact on the rest of the world, initially on the productive process, some of which have become geared to supply those ingredients on a mas scale, and more recently on consumption itself, since the products of the industrial cuisine and of industrialized agriculture are now critical elements in the food supply of the Third World” (Goody, p72).

In order for this to happen there were several processes that were  key in order to change the industrialization of food. These process were: Preserving, mechanization, retailing and transport. As a consequence canned and preserved food could reach different parts of the world.



Nicolas Appert was responsible for the canning process. He published a description of his bottling process as an aid to domestic life in 1810.
The revolution on the mass production of packed food changed the world and its many economic processes. It started a change in consumer habits and demands. Even Though globalization existed way before this change in the food production, globalization as market control is another kind of colonization that has controlled the economies of the Third Countries, previously the Colonies of Europe. In the case of chocolate, for example, food which its main way of consuming it used to be in a beverage with spices, today this form is almost unknown. The most know presentation of this food today is the sweet chocolate version that the Europeans invented. In other words, Europeans not only have colonized the way in which the production of the product works but also its flavor.

Work cited:



Goody, Jack. “Food and culture:a reader”.Edited by: Counihan Carole and Van Esterik, Penny. New York: Routledge. 1997.


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