maya, aztec, chocolate, cacao, native

The Discovery of Chocolate

When the conquistadors arrived in Mexico, they met the Aztec emperor Moctezuma. The latter offered them pots of chocolate mousse, and they discovered the taste of chocolate and its sweetness for the first time. With the help of the natives, they found a Cacao plantation, and tried to recreate the same drinks that they enjoyed with Moctezuma.

At first, the Spanish conquistadors were disappointed by the taste of chocolate and they just used Cacao beans as a means of exchange. But, after a depletion of food stocks, Spanish settlers were forced to look for alternative foods (planting fruits and vegetables, olives and sugar cane). They then started using the natives to turn the Cacao beans into Cacao paste that they mixed with sugar cane.

The first Cacao journey to Europe, particularly to Spain and other European countries, began in 1520, but its commercialization and exploitation did not begin until the 17th century.

The Spanish conquistadors constantly transformed Cacao, heating it until it became liquid. At first, they used it mostly for medical purposes or as an aphrodisiac - but when the sugar or honey started being added into the mixture, it quickly became a treat. As they got more and more interested, they began to accept it as an exceptional product to market. The Spanish conquistadors exported chocolate to Spain and the Spaniards popularized it throughout Europe (in France and Italy). Since its arrival in the country until the twentieth century, the Spanish only consumed chocolate as a drink, never in any other form.

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