A RICH HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE
The history of chocolate and cacao dates back almost 4000 years to the Olmec who were the first major civilization in Mexico. They were probably the first humans to taste chocolate in the form of a drink 'xocoatl'. They crushed the cacao beans, mixed it with water and added spices, chillies and herbs. Over time the Mayans and Aztecs also developed methods for cultivating cacao. The cacao beans were also used as currency (1 turkey egg = 3 beans, 1 rooster = 30 beans, 200 beans = 1 wife).
Only in 1528 did cacao finally arrive in Europe with the conquering of the Aztec empire by Cortez who brought the cacao bean, equipment and recipes to the Spanish king and for about a century the knowledge about cacao stayed in Spain before spreading throughout Europe.
Principal varieties of the cacao tree Theobroma Cacao are: Criollo, rarely grown, Nacional with fine flavour grown in Ecuador, Forastero from the Amazonas region and Trinitario, a hybrid of Forastero and Criollo.