Origins of Chocolate

The success of the cacao bean begins with the Olmec, which was the first civilization to use it in beverage form by grinding down the cocoa beans and mixing the powder with water and spices.

Then it was the Mayan and Aztec civilizations turn to discover the cocoa beans. They used it as units of money and measure. They even paid taxes with cacao beans! For these civilizations, cacao was a symbol of abundance and wealth, as well as offerings for religious ceremonies.

The story of Chocolate goes on with the discovery of North America. Christopher Columbus returned as a hero after his huge excursion. He came back with a treasure. The King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were the first to get a look at this strange product: a dark brown bean, which looks like an almond. They didn’t realize at that moment however, the importance of this, soon to be, favorite global flavor.

But another explorer did see its importance. Indeed, Hernando Cortez brought back to Spain those same cocoa beans, thinking about their commercial possibility. He discovered the cocoa beans with the Aztec Indians, but their chocolaty beverage didn’t suit the European’s taste. So Hernando Cortez decided to add cane sugar to the crushed beans and water.

They made several changes; more spices as cinnamon, vanilla…

At the beginning, Spain kept the secret of this discovery to itself, but by the 17th century, the whole world knew about this delightful treasure.

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