Chocolate is often thought of as something sweet, inexpensive and abundant. Some people even view it as a food to be avoided, or at least a delicacy to be enjoyed moderately.
Have you ever revered it as something magical though? What about using chocolate as a form of currency? How about a specialty only to be consumed by those who are divine or wealthy?
Travel back to the time of the Mayans or Aztecs, and it won’t be long before you realize just how rich the history of chocolate is. For instance, in the article “A Brief History of Chocolate” by Amanda Bensen, it is stated that, “Both the Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical, oreven divine, properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage and death.” The value of the cacao bean was so high in these Mesoamerican civilizations that it was used as a form of currency as recently as the past century. Consumed only as a beverage, this bitter drink was also used as an aid in the curing of many ailments.
It wasn’t until the Europeans discovered and conquered these great civilizations that a new era for the cacao bean was birthed. Not being huge fans of its bitter taste led them to sweeten the chocolate with sugar; the Dutch and Swiss soon began experimenting with the bean in hopes of discovering new possibilities for its consumption. By the 17th century most of England’s wealthy had access to chocolate in the form of a beverage. The mid 19th century saw a turn of events, when the mass production of chocolate in forms we are familiar with today (cake, bars, etc.) became popular and widely available.
It’s not difficult to understand why ancient civilizations held the cacao bean in such high esteem – the flavor, aroma and nostalgia associated with chocolate is almost enchanting. Whether you’re simply enjoying a sweet desert or the joy of giving a tasteful gift to a special someone, hopefully the knowledge of a deeper truth and meaning to chocolate will help make the moment that much better.
And Delysia Chocolatier is grateful to provide a way for you to treat yourself to the Theobroma cacao (cacao bean), or “food of the gods.”