Tag Archives: chocolate tasting

How Sweet It Is

For those of you who couldn’t make it to last night’s Chocolate Tasting (or had to be turned away), here’s a quick summary of the chocolates we sampled and the information about them.

A depiction of a Mayan ruler denying chocolate to a person of lower rank

A Short History of Chocolate:

Chocolate has been used as a drink for almost all of its history, with the earliest cultivation dating back to 1400 BC at the site of Puerto Escondido, Honduras. Cocoa has had ritual and spiritual meanings, and it was also used as currency and medicine in the Mayan, Toltec, and Aztec empires. Cocoa was often used to differentiate between classes—the highest grades reserved for rulers and warriors alone.

There are several myths from ancient times that surround the cacao tree. The Mayans believed that in ancient times, two ball-playing god-brothers were beheaded by the gods of death. One of their heads was hung on a cacao tree. The head managed to impregnate a woman by spitting in her hand. She gave birth to 2 boys, the sun and moon, who defeated the gods of death. According to the Toltec history, Quetzalcoatl gave chocolate to mortals. The gods considered it to be such a sacred and important tree that they considered Quetzalcoatl to be a traitor. They banished him from the land of the gods, but he swore to return. Many in the Aztec empire believed that Cortes was Quetzalcoatl returning.

Chocolate was first imported to Europe through the Spanish empire, and the first European chocolate shop opened in London in 1657. However, the solid form (bars) was not invented until 1847 by Joseph Fry and Son. Continue reading How Sweet It Is