According to the legend, the "feathered serpent" Quetzalcoatl - the main deity of several pre-Hispanic civilizations, gave the Toltecs the seeds of CACAO He said, "I am not a man of the people, but a man of the people, so that their people may be well fed, and so that they may become scholars and craftsmen. Then he asked Tláloc - the God of Rain - to send water to Earth for the plant to grow. Then he went to visit Xochiquetzal, goddess of love and beautyHe asked her to grow beautiful flowers on the plant. That's when cocoa appeared from the fruit.
According to cacaomexico.org, the Olmecs (1500-400 BC) were the first civilization in pre-Hispanic Mexico to taste and cultivate cocoa. They made the drink by grinding cocoa beans, adding water, spices and herbs.
The main areas of development of the Olmec culture are located in the southwest of Veracruz and in the west of Tabasco. They coincide with the main areas where cocoa is still cultivated for its special flavor.
After a few centuries, the cultivation of cocoa spread to the civilizations Maya and Aztec. Therefore, being better known, it is wrongly considered that the main regions where the Mayan civilization developed, namely the states of Campeche and Chiapas, are the origin of the cacao tree.
According to certain vestiges, the Aztecs prepared with the cocoa a bitter concoction reserved exclusively for the emperor, the nobles and the warriors.
Symbol of wealth
For pre-Hispanic civilizations, a cocoa pod was more valuable than a gold nugget. It was also used as currency in ancient Tenochtitlan.
It is said that Moctezuma, king of the MexicasThe company had accumulated up to 100 million cocoa beans.
His arrival in Europe
With the arrival of the Spaniards, they added chocolate, milk, sugar, cinnamon and other spices to the original cocoa-based drink. However, there were already drinks that included chocolate in the drink such as : Tascalate, Pozol, Champurrado, Tejate, Tanchuca, Popo and Bupu).
In 1528, Hernán Cortés returned to Spain with a cargo of cocoa beans, utensils and recipes for their preparation.
In 1615, cocoa arrived in France thanks to Louis XIII, then it travelled to Germany and England. A few years later, in 1659, the first chocolate factory was opened in Paris.
His entry in the dictionary
In 1724, the DRAE includes for the first time the definition of chocolate: "A drink made with the paste also called chocolate, which is composed of cocoa, sugar and cinnamon (although some may add vanilla and other ingredients).
CACAO vs COCOA
In 1753, Carl Linnaeus named the seed native to Mesoamerica Theobroma cacao.
While the bean is known as cocoa, cocoa is the product of processing the bean with the addition of additives. This is why cocoa can be found in powdered form in desserts, and why it is also found in chocolate bars and other derivatives.
Nowadays, pure cocoa (not cocoa) has gained a lot of popularity, being included in the vegan diet and being part of a healthy diet because it does not contain any additives or sugars. It is a natural food that has excellent properties for our body and health.
Cocoa in Mexican gastronomy
In addition to the drinks that are made in Mexico with cocoa, it is also an ingredient in some of the dishes of Mexican cuisine such as:
-The mole poblano: One of the many ingredients with which this delicious dish is prepared is chocolate.
-Chocolate TamalesThey are made with a mixture of cocoa, corn, almonds and nuts. They are wrapped in a corn leaf and can be dipped in a red fruit coulis.
-The Oaxacan EnchiladasTortillas: These are tortillas stuffed with chicken or turkey, wrapped in a taco shape and bathed in mole sauce. Cheese and cream can be added on top.
Cocoa is without a doubt one of the most important Mesoamerican contributions to the world. It is considered a superfood containing over 50 nutrients, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatories It is also an important symbol in pre-Hispanic mythology, so much so that it is mentioned in ancient codices such as the Popol Vuh.