History of Chocolate

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1. How it began: The history of chocolate dates back to 2000 BC. Cocoa, from which chocolate is made, was originally found in the Amazon about 4000 years ago. 400 years later, chocolate was being used by the Maya. They called the cocoa tree cacahuaquchtl (means "tree") and the word chocolate came from the Maya word xocoatl which means "bitter water" ("Chocolate History", 1994). The Maya used cacao beans as a form of currency and cacao taxes were imposed on the towns by the last princes of the empire (Bailleux, 1996, 60). Cocoa was also used to make pots, which was a symbol of life and fertility. The cocoa pot was often used in religious rituals, and in their text, coca was referred to as "god's food" ("Chocolate History", 1994).

2. Columbus discovery Until 1492, the world knew about the delicious flavor of chocolate was about to become the favorite amongst millions.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella first got their look at the principle ingredient of chocolate (cocoa) when Columbus returned from his voyage. Columbus had brought back many strange and wonderful things. Amongst these were a few dark brown beans that looked like almonds. These beans were in fact cocoa beans; the source of all chocolate. The King and Queen never realized how important it could be and they set Hernando Cortez, the great Spanish explorer, out to grasp the money-making possibilities of cocoa beans. During his conquest of Mexico, Cortez found the Aztec Indians using cocoa beans in preparation of the royal drink "chocolatl," meaning "warm liquid" ("The History of Chocolate", 2000).

3. Cortez's trip to Mexico Cortez, in 1519, visited Aztec Emperor Montezuma II, who is said to have drank 50 or more portions daily. The Emperor served chocolatl to his Spanish guests in...