Not only is chocolate delicious, but it has a rich history as well.
The first to discover the cacao pod were actually monkeys! Contained inside the cacao pod is not only the cocoa beans from which our favorite chocolate products are derived, but also a sweet, white pulp that encompasses the beans.
The pulp is juicy and refreshing, tasting like fruit, and monkeys would crack open the pods, eat the pulp, and spit out the beans. They were throwing out the best part!
Today, Brazil is the only country that uses the white pulp of the cacao pods. The pulp is used to create a sweet drink.
But thanks to monkeys, the beans spread, helping cacao trees grow all over South and Central America.
And even once the beans were discovered as edible, it was a long time before they became the chocolate we are familiar with now.
Mayans were among the first to use the cacao bean. The beans were ground up to create a drink. But rather than sugar and milk, the Mayans added spices, water, chilies, and sometimes even corn. These drinks were very nutritious and not nearly as delicious as chocolate as we know it today.
The Aztecs followed, using cacao beans for currency. Chocolate as a currency. Can you imagine a daily struggle over whether to eat your money?
But among the wealthy, cacao was used for a drink as well. Their drink was cold and frothy. Montezuma was rumored to drink 50 cups a day!
And once the Spanish arrived to the New World, chocolate began to develop into the forms with which we are familiar today.