Who doesn't love Chocolate?
But did you know that Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central America and Northern South America?
Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC. The majority of the Mesoamerican people made chocolate beverages, including the Aztecs in Mexico, who made it into a beverage known as xocolatl, a Nahuatl word meaning "bitter water".
The Aztec adaptation of the drink was bitter, frothy and spicy, made much the same way as the Mayan chocolate drinks but often seasoned with vanilla, chile pepper, and achiote. The Aztects associated chocolate with Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility, and often used chocolate beverages as sacred offerings.
You may find it interesting that the raw and freshly harvested seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, so bitter in fact that coacao seeds must be fermented to develop the flavor.
After fermentation, the beans are dried, then cleaned, and then roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The cocao nibs are then further processed and ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form.