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Let's talk cacao: The prehispanic history behind the chocolate we love.

When we think of chocolate, we often imagine decadent bars or rich hot cocoa, but did you know that cocoa and cacao have a long and fascinating pre-Hispanic history? These ancient crops were originally cultivated in Mesoamerica and were valued by indigenous cultures not only for their delicious taste but also for their medicinal and ceremonial properties.
Cocoa and cacao trees were first domesticated by the Maya civilization around 2000 BC in what is now present-day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. These cultures used the beans to make a bitter drink called "xocolātl," which was believed to have healing properties and was used in religious ceremonies.
By the time the Aztecs came to power in the 14th century, cocoa beans had become a valuable commodity, used as currency and reserved for royalty and nobility. The Aztecs also used cocoa beans to make a frothy, spicy drink called "xocolātl," which was served to warriors before battle and to nobles during important ceremonies. The drink was flavored with spices like cinnamon, chili, and vanilla and was believed to have aphrodisiac properties.

The Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mesoamerica in the 16th century and were fascinated by the cocoa beans they discovered. They brought the beans back to Europe, where they quickly gained popularity among the wealthy elite. Over time, sugar was added to the drink, making it sweeter and more palatable. This eventually led to the creation of the chocolate bars and treats we know and love today.
But despite its widespread popularity, cocoa and cacao have faced numerous challenges throughout history. The plantations where they are grown have often been the site of exploitation and labor abuse, with farmers often receiving very little pay for their hard work. Additionally, many modern chocolate products contain very little actual cocoa or cacao and are instead loaded with sugar and artificial flavors.

That's why it's important to support companies like ours that are committed to using high-quality, ethically sourced cocoa and cacao in our products. By doing so, we can honor the long and rich history of these crops and ensure that they continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

In conclusion, cocoa and cacao have a rich pre-Hispanic history that has played an important role in shaping the way we enjoy chocolate today. Let's continue to celebrate these ancient crops by supporting companies that use high-quality, ethically sourced ingredients in their products.