2,500-Year-Old Traces Of Chocolate Found
Are you a cocoa addict? Well, most of us are addicted to chocolates at one stage or another in life but this news would come as a surprise to even the most ardent fans of cocoa products. Chocolate was in use even 2,500 years ago, when it may have been used either as a sauce or a condiment to go with food. There are suggestions that chocolate may also have been used as a drink. So, here is the chocolate story from another age and time.
Chocolate from the Yucatan Peninsula
Archaeologists have come across remnants of chocolate, believed to be a residue left over from some 2,500 years ago. The samples were found in the Yucatan peninsula, which is already a storehouse of historic artifacts related to the Mayan age. The residue was found on a plate, which leads to the belief that it was eaten rather than drunk. Before this discovery was made, archaeologists believed that when chocolate or cacao beans were used in the pre-Hispanic cultures, it was more as a beverage, made by crushing the beans and mixing the crushed powder with other liquids. Scientists believed that such a drink was predominantly consumed by the tribals. However, the Yucatan discovery, made by the Mexico’s “National Institute of Anthropology and History”, points to the fact that chocolate was also being used in ancient Mexico.
Experts associated with this discovery revealed that during the ancient times, chocolate-based sauce may have been served with dishes made with meat. Archaeologist Tomas Gallareta said in this regard, “This is the first time it has been found on a plate used for serving food. It is unlikely that it was ground there (on the plate), because for that they probably used metates (grinding stones).” The site in question is the Paso del Macho, first uncovered in 2001 in Yucatan, and the traces of chocolate were found on plates brought in from that site. Experts at the Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, undertook some tests on those plates and the fragments found on these. According to these tests, “a ratio of theobromine and caffeine compounds that provide a strong indicator of cacao usage,” was found in those fragments.
John S. Henderson, a professor of Anthropology at Cornell University, is ecstatic at the results. He has already written, “the presence of cacao residues on plates is even more interesting… the important thing is that it was on flat serving vessels and so presented or served in some other way than as a beverage.” Henderson is considered to be one of the leading experts on ancient chocolate, therefore, take him seriously, when he says, “I think their inference that cacao was being used in a sauce is likely correct, though I can imagine other possibilities.”
The plate fragments are from about 500 B.C. but these are the oldest traces of chocolate found in the world. Now, with the world talking about a chocolate printer or about locking chocolate genetics, spare a thought for the ancestors who knew how to have chocolate, even 2,500 years back.