Humans fell in love with chocolate nearly 4,000 years ago. The indigenous people of Mesoamerica, first harvested the beans from the Theobroma cacao tree (translated from Latin: “Food of the Gods”). The beans were dried, fermented and cracked to form cacao nibs. The Aztecs first prepared chocolate as a bitter drink, called xocoatl and once used it as currency and in religious ceremonies. Eventually, cacao traveled to Spain, Asia and Africa. Today, 70% of the world’s chocolate is harvested in West Africa. Chocolate has been studied by researchers for its potential healing benefits on the immune system, inflammation and cognitive awareness.
While Europe is the leading consumer of chocolate in the world, it is found in both sweet and savory dishes around the globe.