Chocolate and Vanilla

Chocolate History

Why You Need To Thank The Ancient Mayans For Chocolate

By: Greg Hall

Many people have no idea where chocolate originated, if you asked some they might say Hershey, Pennsylvania! In actuality the confection that is adored by millions of people all over the globe comes from the Amazon region of South America and Central America where it was found my the Mayans and then was spread through the rest of America coming through Mexico and the Aztec Empire. Like many other things, the Aztecs attributed the existence of the Cacao plant to their god, Quetzalcoatl.

We don't think anything of it when we eat chocolate but to the Aztecs Cacao beans existed as food for the gods, literally. These beans were valued so highly by their culture that they were used as money for a time. The way modern chocolate came into being is from when the conquistadors came to America and then brought it back to Europe with them in the 1500s. This is when the dark confection was introduced to the Western World.

The chocolate we know of now exploded in popularity in the 1900s in the United States. Before this time only the wealthy and affluent could afford chocolate because it was so expensive. As a chocolate lover myself I know that I am grateful to Milton Hershey for making it affordable for everyone through delicious creations like the chocolate bar and kisses. The way he accomplished this is by taking after the Swiss milk chocolate making process and combining it with the recipe he came up with which brought the United States into the world of chocolate lovers.

In the U.S. medical doctors have been touting the benefits of the dark variety of chocolate because research seems to indicate that the darker the chocolate is the higher it is in antioxidants. Milk chocolate remains more popular because it tastes much better; the darker chocolate has a higher percentage of cacao which makes it more bitter, like baking chocolate.

I can almost guarantee you that somewhere in your home that you will have something that contains cocoa somewhere. I love the taste of Haagen Daz, especially in any form of chocolate. They have even come out with a special Mayan version of chocolate that will give you a little insight on how the taste may have been back in their day.

No you should see why we really owe the ancient Mayans and Aztecs a great debt of gratitude for bringing chocolate to the world. If it hadn't been for them you would have never had that chocolate bar you are munching on.

The history of chocolate, as depicted by Greg Hall. See article source.


The top three international luxury chocolates receive accolades by consumers and fans. Consumer favorites Lindt, Godiva and Noka.