The ancient history of chocolate
Theobroma, which translates as "food of the gods", is native to the tropics of the Americas where it was used as currency and revered for it's medicinal qualities for centuries. Images of cocoa pods were carved into palaces and places of worship as far back as 600 A.D. when it symbolized life and fertility. Traditionally these ancient Mesoamerican civilizations created a spicy bitter beverage out of the cacao which was offered only to the elite for thousands of years.
The European history of chocolateAbout 500 years ago this soon-to-be mega superstar traveled across the deep blue sea to Spain where it interacted with European culture and processing techniques until eventually meeting it's soulmate in sugar. As cacao and sugar were amongst the most expensive imports of the day, chocolate remained a luxury enjoyed only by the world's most exclusive citizenry for hundreds of years.
The more recent history of chocolateIntroduced back to America in the mid 1700's, we have been cultivating, coveting and consuming this beloved bean ever since. Books, websites, seminars and scientific research continue to be devoted to unlocking this food's mysterious attributes even today. Within the modern raw food movement raw cacao is believed, once again, to be a healing, life-affirming, nutritional source of sustenance.
See also: What is raw cacao? Using raw chocolate