Chocolate: Mexico’s Delectable Gift to the World

Food — By Susan Vincil on February 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Chocolate was originally created nearly 4,000 years ago. | Photo by flickr user Kirti Poddar

Chocolate, the sweet treat that millions of us crave and can’t live without, has actually been around for thousands of years, but few people know its origin. It all started in the Amazon region, when cocao beans, from which chocolate is made, were discovered approximately 4,000 years ago.  Evidence of cocao beans being used as far back as 1,900BC has been found throughout the areas that are known as Mexico and Central America, today.

The Mayans and Aztecs ground the cocao beans into a powder and made a bitter beverage from the powder. There was no milk or sugar in the region so spices and even chili peppers were used to enhance the flavor of the beverage. This drink, known to the Mayans and Aztecs as xocoatl, was consumed during sacred ceremonies and for special occasions. And, even way back then chocolate was believed to be an aphrodisiac.

The Mayans had the first known cocao plantations, around 600AD. The cocao pods were used as offerings to gods and were even referred to as “god’s food”. When the Spaniards arrived to the Yucatan region, they too became enamored with chocolate and took cocao plants back to Spain. In Europe, sugar and milk were added to the powdered cocao beans, to cut the bitter flavor of chocolate.

Even though Mexico and the United States are so close, chocolate didn’t make its way to what is now the USA until the mid-1700s. European settlers introduced chocolate to the region and, today, the US and Canada are the largest consumers of chocolate. In fact, in the United States, we love chocolate so much that we invented National Chocolate Day and, each year, on October 28th, chocolate is celebrated. Of course, many of us choose to “celebrate” chocolate much more than just one day of the year.

If a chocolate craving hits you while you are in Cancun, give in to it and visit Chocolate City Cancun, a family-friendly restaurant that serves international cuisine and the dessert selection is chocolate lover’s dream come true. The restaurant has nearly a dozen decadent, chocolate desserts to choose from, as well as chocolate milkshakes, hot chocolate, chocolate-flavored coffee drinks, and even chocolate martinis. The Aphrodisiac Chocolate Fountain; an actual chocolate fountain delivered right to your table, is the house specialty and it’s served with fresh fruits, like strawberries and bananas, as well as waffles and mini-donuts. Who could ever resist that? With all of that chocolate goodness on the menu, you’ll definitely be able to feed your sweet tooth at Chocolate City Cancun.

Tags: cancun, cancun restaurants, chocolate, chocolate city cancun