Contrary to most people thought, the origine of chocolate is not in Africa, but right at the opposite side of the earth, on South AmericaThe earliest record of chocolate was over fifteen hundred years ago in the Central American rain forests, where the tropical mix of high rain fall combined with high year round temperaturesand humidity provide the ideal climate for cultivation of the plant from which chocolate is derived, the Cacao Tree.
The Cacao Tree was worshipped by the Mayan civilisation of CentralAmerica and Southern Mexico, who believed it to be of divine origin
Cacao is actually a Mayan word meaning "God Food" (« Cacahuatl »)
The Maya brewed a spicy, bitter sweet drink byroasting and pounding the seeds of the Cacao tree (cocoa beans) with maize and Capsicum (Chilli) peppers and letting the mixture ferment.
This drink was reserved for use in ceremonies aswell as for drinking by the wealthy and religious elite, they also ate a Cacao porridge.
The Aztecs of central Mexico also prized the beans, but because the Aztec's lived further north inmore arid regions at higher altitudes, where the climate was not suitable for cultivation of the tree, they had to acquire the beans through trade or the spoils of war.
The Aztecs, likethe Mayans, also enjoyed Cacao as a beverage fermented from the raw beans, which again featured prominently in ritual and as a luxury available only to the very wealthy.
The Aztecscalled this drink Xocolatl, the Spanish conquistadors found this almost impossible to pronounce and so corrupted it to the easier 'Chocolat', the English further changed this to Chocolate.