Chocolate, Discovering the Food of the Gods

 

Tasty and available naturally in large quantities, the fruits and seeds of plants were among the first foods to be discovered, processed and appreciated by man since the dawning of time. Among them, one of them stands out in taste, and it is the black seed of the Theobroma Cacao plant, better known nowadays as chocolate. Thanks to its unique and irresistible flavor, since its discovery this food has enjoyed great acclaimed fame, and was often regarded as of sacred or divine origin. We at Italian Traditions have investigated and found many tasty facts.

The origins of chocolate are associated with the Maya period. These native people were probably the first to cultivate the cacao tree. This plant has very ancient origins, according to precise botanical research, it is assumed its origins trace back to more than 6000 years ago in the Amazon and Orinoco area. Already at that time, chocolate was considered a food for the privileged, indeed the Mayans reserved its use only to the most noble classes of society, or rulers, nobles and warriors. Also in those days, they used to consume a cocoa drink made with hot water, and the very origin of the word chocolate is closely linked to this recipe: it took the name chacauhaa, a union of the words hot = chacau, and water = haa

Synonymous with chacau was chocol, hence chocolhaa, surely the first name that comes close to it, is the Spanish chocolate. The use of cocoa beans was certainly not limited to this drink. In fact, these populations used it as the basic unit for measuring and counting, as well as trading currency and, mixed with incense and often the blood of the priests themselves, also used as an offering to the gods during the great sacred ceremonies. The first European to taste this delicacy was Christopher Columbus, when in 1502, during his fourth voyage to the Americas, off the coast of Honduras touched the ground on the island of Gunaja, and then brought the sacred seed to the old continent. 

When it arrived in Europe around 1520 and throughout the sixteenth century, chocolate remains exclusive to Spain, which increased the crops, and then in the 1600s became an exotic luxury diffused on the tables of nobles, who believed that is also possessed incredible healing and miraculous properties. In later centuries, the use of this rich and tasty food became increasingly widespread, and now chocolate is undoubtedly one of the most respected in the world of sweet foods. 

It is known in three major variants consisting of milk chocolate, white and dark, depending on the pure cocoa preparation and concentration, which is now worked in endless forms and preparations, often with the addition of extra flavors such as chili, pistachio or plain salt. So even today, the cocoa plant in its approximately 14,000 cataloged genetic variations, is of the most delicious delicacies that nature can offer us, as compelling now as it was for the ancient Mayans and Aztecs. Sacred and delicious enough to be still known as the food of the "gods".

Soft and smooth, delicate and seductive. Give yourself a divine cuddle, a sweet trip on our IT5 of the week.