Ah, chocolat, chocolat, comment je t’aime ! Permettez-moi de comte les façons! (French)
(Oh, chocolate, chocolate, how I love you! Let me count the ways!)
I love chocolate, all things chocolate. (Well almost–some things would not taste good chocolate-covered; but I’m not going to go there.) For my very first chocolate blog, I will answer the question, where does chocolate come from?
Chocolate has been around for about 2,000 years. It starts as a bean from the cacao tree, which grows in tropical rainforests in South America. South America is also known for producing the best coffee in the world: which also starts as a bean. I don’t think there is any connection, but it is still interesting to think about.
Natives such as the Maya and the Aztec mixed the cacao beans with various spices to make a drink. No one knows for sure how the Mayans and Aztecs discovered the tasty properties of the cacao bean, but, when they did discover it, it began a treasured treat. Their artwork often depicts people gathering the beans, and enjoying drinks made from the cacao.
To make the chocolate, the Mayans removed the outer husk, and fermented and roasted the seeds inside. The seeds were ground into paste with a stone. The paste was then mixed with a variety of other ingredients, including chili peppers. They did not have any sugar back then, so they probably used honey to sweeten this drink.
Next time, I’ll look at some of the ways that the Mayans used chocolate.