Chocolate History Lesson: Mayan Uses of Chocolate

ek-chuaHere at Chocomize, we recognize that in order to be the best chocolate company we can be, it’s important that we recognize where we came from.  That’s why we thought it would be useful to explain some of the early history of the world of chocolate.


By all accounts the earliest history of chocolate began in the Mesoamerica regions, which is comprised of the southeast corner of Mexico as well as parts of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.  It was in this region where the cacao tree was harvested by the native Olmec tribe.  The first and most elaborate common usage of chocolate was by the Mayan society that lived in the same region in the first century AD.  The Mayans held the resource in the highest regard, using it for everything from currency to religious rituals.

 

According to one source, a mere 10 cacao beans could score you a rabbit or a prostitute, while 100 would buy you a slave in the Mayan society.  While it was fairly common for the Mayans to consume chocolate (melting it down and drinking it along with liquor), it was a luxury reserved only for the wealthy.  After all, it would be the equivalent of rolling up a dollar bill and eating it.  Or doing this.

 

Chocolate was also used in its liquid form in its ritualistic religious uses, often in matrimony and baptism services.  They used chocolates as a substitute for blood in ritual practices, with the bride and groom symbolically exchanging chocolate during the ceremony.

 

There was even a Mayan god of cacao.  It was common, in fact, for ancient Mayan emperors to be buried with a jar of chocolate as a tribute to this god, Ek Chuah.  After all, Ek Chuah was not only the god of chocolate, but was also representative of conflict and war, making him a good deity to pay tribute to for the afterlife.  We don’t expect anyone to be taking their Chocomize bars six feet under anytime soon, but our custom chocolate bars are great for other big occasions, like Weddings.

 

Chocolate has come a long way since then and we are helping to further progress the evolution of chocolate by allowing you to pick from over 100 ingredients to complement your selection of premium Belgian chocolate at our Creation Station.

 


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