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The History of Chocolate, and its creation from the beans of the cacao tree, can be traced to the ancient Maya, and even earlier to the ancient Olmecs of Southern Mexico.
2347
History
The History of Chocolate, and its creation from the beans of the cacao tree, can be traced to the ancient Maya, and even earlier to the ancient Olmecs of Southern Mexico.
Published on 01/25/2023
By: fsr1kitty
2347
History

The word “chocolate” may conjure up images of sweet candy bars and luscious truffles, but the confections of today bears little resemblance to the chocolate of the past: Throughout much of its history, chocolate was a bitter beverage, not a sweet, rich-tasting treat.

1.
1.
Chocolate is made from the fruit of cacao trees, which are native to Central and South America. The fruits are called pods and each pod contains around 40 cacao beans. The beans are dried and roasted to create cocoa beans. It's unclear exactly when cacao came on the scene or who invented it. According to Hayes Lavis, Arts Curator for the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, ancient Olmec pots and vessels from around 1500 B.C. were discovered with traces of theobromine, the stimulant compound found in chocolate and tea. It's thought the Olmecs used cacao to create a ceremonial drink. However, since they kept no written history, opinions differ on if they used cacao beans in their concoctions or just the pulp of the cacao pod. Have you seen a Cacao Tree or Cacao pods prior to this survey?
Yes
27%
629 votes
No
73%
1671 votes
2.
2.
The Olmecs undoubtedly passed their cacao knowledge on to the Central American Maya who not only consumed chocolate, they revered it. The Mayan written history mentions chocolate drinks being used in celebrations and to finalize important transactions and ceremonies. Were you aware of the Olmec Peoples prior to this survey?
Yes
23%
521 votes
No
77%
1779 votes
3.
3.
Despite chocolate's importance in Mayan culture, it wasn't reserved for the wealthy and powerful, but was readily available to almost everyone. In many Mayan households, chocolate was enjoyed with every meal. Mayan chocolate was thick and frothy and often combined with chili peppers, honey or water. Have you ever tasted Chocolate with Chili Peppers?
Yes
17%
401 votes
No
83%
1899 votes
4.
4.
Xocolatl The Aztecs took chocolate admiration to another level. They believed cacao was given to them by their gods. Like the Maya, they enjoyed the caffeinated kick of hot or cold, spiced chocolate beverages in ornate containers, but they also used cacao beans as currency to buy food and other goods. In Aztec culture, cacao beans were considered more valuable than gold. There was even counterfeit cacao beans made out of wax passed off as currency. Did you know Cacao was so highly valued they used it as a form of currency?
Yes
26%
603 votes
No
74%
1697 votes
5.
5.
Aztec chocolate, which they called xocolatl, was mostly an upper-class extravagance, although the lower classes enjoyed it occasionally at weddings or other celebrations. Perhaps the most notorious Aztec chocolate lover of all was the Aztec ruler Montezuma II who allegedly drank gallons of xocolatl each day for energy and as an aphrodisiac. It's also said he reserved some of his cacao beans for his military. Have you ever tasted cocoa powder without any sugar?
Yes
46%
1048 votes
No
54%
1252 votes
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