Chocolate. Origins. Cacao tree probably originates from the Amazon basin. It reached Central America between 4000 and 5000 years ago. Will only grow within 20˚ of the equator. 2 varieties of cacao – criollo and forastero. Cacao. Etymology.
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Cacao tree probably originates from the Amazon basin.
It reached Central America between 4000 and 5000 years ago.
Will only grow within 20˚ of the equator.
2 varieties of cacao – criollo and forastero.
Botanical name for cacao is Theobroma cacao, which is Latin for ‘food for the Gods’.
Origins of the word ‘chocolate’ are disputed. 3 possible hypotheses: 1) ‘chocolate’ is a Spanish distortion of ‘cacauatl’, the Aztec term for the substance; 2) ‘chocolate’ is a hispanicised version of the Maya term ‘chocol hua’; 3) ‘chocolate’ is a combination of the Maya word ‘chocol’ and the Aztec word ‘atl’, which means water.
17th-century British traveller Thomas Gage: ‘this name chocolate is an Indian name, and is compounded from atte, as some say, or as others atle, which in the Mexican language signifies ‘water’, and from the sound which the water, wherein is put the chocolate, makes, as choco choco choco, when it is stirred in a cup by an instrument called a molinet or molinillo, until it bubbles and rises into a froth.’
Maya thought to have cultivated cacao on the coasts of Tabasco, Campeche, Belize and the Gulf of Honduras from at least the 6th or 7th century AD.
They prized the cacao beans very highly, according them a central place within their culture.
They used them not only as a food but as a form of currency and they had a cacao God
Aztecs also liked chocolate.
Used it for money.
Extracted it from the tribes that they conquered as a form of tribute, particularly from the region of Soconusco.
Had cacao beans transported to Tenochtitlan by canoe and on foot.
Maya and Aztecs ate cacao pods raw and ground the beans with maize to form a flour called cacahuapinolli.
They created a chocolate drink by dissolving ground cacao beans in water and mixing them with various other ingredients like honey, vanilla, chillies and axiote.
They poured chocolate from a height to create a froth, and usually drank it cold.