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History of Chocolate – Where it all began

Knowing little bits about the history of chocolate, I thought it’s time I brushed up on my knowledge and shared it with you.

The history of chocolate can be traced back as far as the ancient Mayans and Aztecs in Mexico, both of which are classed as some of the greatest ancient civilizations that have ever been discovered!

The Mayan empire began to develop between 250AD and 900AD, although some sources say it can be found back as far as 600BC and dominated from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Pacific coast of Guatemala, and it was here in Yucatan that they cultivated what is thought to be the earliest cocoa plantations.

Choc affair chocolate. Aztec Mayan History. Yucatan Peninsula to Guatemala

The Mayan culture believed that cacao pods represented life and fertility, which can be seen through carvings of cacao pods that are all over their architecture. Cocoa beans were also valuable to the Mayans and were often used as gifts for religious and special occasions, much like we use our chocolate today!

Choc affair chocolate. Aztec Mayan History. Cocao Bean

In the 1200s AD, the mythology surrounding cacao gets more exciting. They believed their God, Quetzalcoati turned himself into a man, and came from heaven to earth on the beam of a morning star, carrying a cacao plant stolen from paradise. He planted his cacao plant and asked the God of water, Tlaloc to water it. Once the plant grew and started to produce cacao pods, Quetzalcoatl showed the humans how to collect the seeds from the pods, roast and grind them then whisk them with water in drinking bowls to create a bitter chocolate drink. And after all that effort you would like to think they could sit down, relax and enjoy their drink? Well they were not allowed! The drink was only allowed to be given to priests and nobles.

 

Within the Aztec culture, Cacao seeds were highly prized. The seeds were used as a currency to purchase goods with, pay tribute to their rulers and to make offerings to the Gods. The Aztec’s believed that wisdom and power came from the fruit of the cacao tree, that it was nourishing, and also an aphrodisiac, which is what encouraged the Aztec emperor Montezuma to drink up to 50 goblets a day of the thick spicy cacao, there’s a fact for the history books!

Choc affair chocolate. Aztec Mayan History. Goblets

Both the Mayan and Aztec culture made a frothy drink from the dark beans. They both used the same process to make the drink, first roasting the beans, and then grinding them until a thick liquid was created. Water was added, along with herbs and flavourings such as honey, dried flowers, chilli and spices. It was then poured from one bowl to another, over and over until a the drink became frothy. Today, many cultures still use the traditional method of a Molinillo to create the same effect of the bowls. It’s a really lovely piece of decorative equipment, whether or not you want to use it for a drinking chocolate!

Choc affair chocolate. Aztec Mayan History. Molinillo

Over time we have evolved the way we drink chocolate, as well as it being consumed warm, we make it using powered cocoa. But here at Choc affair we believe chocolate should be pure. Our hot chocolate range is made with luxury shavings which focus on our delicious signature flavours. If you have never had the sensational experience of one our drinking chocolate flavours then I think it’s time you tried!


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