The History of Chocolate: The Mayans and Aztecs

The Mayans and Aztecs considered chocolate the food of the gods, but today’s lovers of sweets would not find the earliest chocolate heavenly. Chocolate is made from the roasted and ground seeds of the cacao tree. Until the sixteenth century, ground chocolate was mixed with water and spices, including chili peppers, to make a bitter, frothy beverage that Spanish explorers termed fitter for hogs than men. Not until Cortez brought chocolate back to Spain in 1526 was sugar added to the mix, but once it was, European royalty prized hot chocolate drinks. Over the next two centuries, hot chocolate became fashionable; chocolate houses (like coffeehouses) sprang up throughout Europe.