General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Oct 2018/13 Rabbit
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Article suitable for older students

Dr. Mark Van Stone

Question for January 2018

Is it true that the Spanish didn’t like the taste of chocolate at first? Asked by Allenbourn Middle School. Chosen and answered by Dr. Mark Van Stone.

French translation of the first serious European study of chocolate - ‘Curioso tratado de la naturaleza y calidad del chocolate’ by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma (1631)
French translation of the first serious European study of chocolate - ‘Curioso tratado de la naturaleza y calidad del chocolate’ by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma (1631) (Click on image to enlarge)

Probably. Keep in mind that Maya and Aztecs mixed chocolatl with lots of other ingredients: I guess the most common of these was hot chile. (Chocolatl is an Aztec word; Cocoa comes from the Mayan Kakaw/cacao.) Straight chocolate (baking chocolate), as you know, is bitter. it wasn’t till Dutch merchants added sugar that Europeans really got addicted to it.
For thousands of years before they discovered that roasting chocoloate made it good to eat, people (and monkeys) ate only the pulp, the sweet white gunk that surrounds the cacao beans in the pod, and spat out the seeds.
My friend Michael Coe wrote, with his wife Sophie (a great cook) The True History of Chocolate, which I recommend.

Go to our main section on the history of chocolate to learn more...

Dr. Mark Van Stone has answered 3 questions altogether:

How rare was it to reach the age of 52?

Is it true that the Spanish didn’t like the taste of chocolate at first?

Does each of the 20 day signs mean [relate to] a particular quality (eg rabbit for speed...)?

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