The Story of Chocolate

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  • Published: 15 Jun 2013
  • Updated: 16 Jun 2013
  • Status: Complete
It's the world's most popular treat, but where does chocolate come from? And why is it so Delicious?Discover the bean behind each bar and follow it's journey from the American rainforest to factories everywhere.

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1. Chocolate Drinkers

           

    A thousand years ago, chocolate was a big secret. Only a few people drank it and nobody ate it. The first chocolate drinkers were farmers who lived by the rainforest in central America. The rainforest was a jungle full of tropical plants, wild animals and creepy crawlies. It was also home to the small cocoa tree that grew strange, bright pods.

Monkeys knew all about the pods. They liked to break them open and suck out the sweet, white pulp. Then they spat out the bitter beans that were in the middle. If a bean landed on an earthy patch of forest floor, it grew into another cocoa tree.

One day a farmer copied the monkeys and tasted a pod. "Yum!"he cried, sucking the pulp. "Yuck!"he added, spitting out the bean. Soon everyone was sucking pulp and spitting beans. But then, some villagers noticed a delicious smell, drifting up from a pile of rotting beans. 

Over the next few months, the farmers discovered a way to capture this smell by turning the beans into a drink. They let the beans rot for a few days under banana leaves... then put them out to dry in the hot sun. Next they roasted the beans over a fire... ground them into a paste... and stirred in water and spices. They called their new drink "Chocol haa ". It tasted very bitter, but they liked it.

The farmers were members of a huge group of people called Mayans. Before long, "Chocol haa" -or Chocolate- was an important part of Mayan life.

Mayan kings and priests began to drink it every day.  At Mayan weddings, the bride and groom showed their Love by exchanging 5 cocoa beans.

Cocoa beans became so valuable they were used as money.

 

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