|Origination Data||From the
Mayans to Us: When one of the Spanish
sailors dropped a cacao bean, Columbus' son noted "They all stooped to pick
it up, as if an eye had fallen." That was when Columbus discovered cacao
beans, after he seized a dugout canoe full of cargo for sale. Evidently, the
natives considered cacao beans a form of money.The Aztecs made "Chocolatl" a
delicious cold drink, by combining the cacoa powder with various
ingredients, most often chile water, vanilla, flowers, and honey. Choco
meant foam, and atl meant water.
The Mayan Indians originally traded the beans for jade, cloth, and feathers. The Mayans ground up the cacao beans and mixed them with chile peppers, in a cold beverage. Through trade, they introduced the beans to the Aztecs, who were living in the Valley of Mexico.
In Europe, the taste spread. After Cortez popularized the beans, and people got the taste of them, the Dutch, English, French started growing cacao in their own colonies. Chocolate flooded Europe. In England, teahouses became chocolate houses. At first, sugar cost so much that the drink was expensive. Only aristocrats could afford to drink it. But later even ordinary people could afford a hot chocolate. Back when Hernando Cortez brought back chests of the beans, a Spanish chef had substituted sugar for chile, and hot chocolate was born..