Just as with every story, let’s start at the very beginning; the story of chocolate begins under lush, tropical condition, set in the beautiful lands of Mesoamerica. It was here, that Theobroma Cacao (the cocoa tree) flourished, blooming into a popular beverage for the people of this region. The Aztecs would later take the helm of expanding the cocoa tree’s offering by extracting its sweetness and transforming it into a thick, rich beverage; the sweet white pulp that encompasses the seeds were extracted for wines and other drinks while the beans themselves were deshelled to make both hot and cold chocolate drinks. Shortly thereafter, both Mayans and Aztecs drinks would be composed of roasted cocoa beans, sugir (natural foaming agent), toasted corn, and water. In addition to these main ingredients, exotic flavors like vanilla and chili were then added to boast the experience of the beverage.
Aside from just pure deliciousness though, cocoa was used for other reasons, like religious. Believed to be of divine origin, the Aztecs held the cocoa tree in high regard as their bridge between heaven and earth. Even humans who were offered as sacrifices to appease the Gods were first blessed by consuming chocolates. Course, even the living were able to reap the benefits of this godly gift; beans were gifted to priests at children’s ‘coming of age’ rituals while in marriage ceremonies couples would drink a cup of chocolate, reinforcing their beliefs that consuming chocolate would transfer some of Quetzalcoatl’s (God of Learning and of The Wind) knowledge.
Inspired? Channel some of that Aztec influence and shop our Aztec Hot Chocolate for a thick and decadent recreation of this South American concoction.