Various civilisations in this region have used the products of the cacao tree for a number of uses over time. The Olmecs are said to have used it for religious rituals and in medicinal drinks, while the Mayans linked it with their gods. In fact, the Mayans believed cacao was so special, their gods must have shed their blood on the cacao tree. It’s amazing to find out that the otherworldly power of chocolate dates back centuries. Although the Mayan version of chocolate was a warm mixture of cacao seed paste, water, chilli peppers and cornmeal – a little different to today.
The Aztecs, on the other hand, drank their chocolate cold. It was served at the end of banquets and was also believed to be an aphrodisiac. They too linked chocolate with the gods – this time with the god Quetzalcoatl – who they thought had been ostracised by the other gods for daring to share chocolate with humans. Nowadays people say that chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays – so we’re certainly glad chocolate was shared with humans. As the Aztecs conquered areas that had cacao trees, they ordered those invaded communities to pay them a tax in the form of cacao beans. Chocolate was therefore an early form of currency.