the cocoa

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Theobroma cacao is the scientific name that receives the cacao or cocoa tree. Theobroma is Greek for "food of the gods, cocoa comes from the Nahuatl" cacahua. "

According to the Mayan mythology, Kukulkan gave cacao to the Mayas after the creation of the world. The Mayas celebrated an annual festival in April to honor the god of cacao.

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Theobroma cacao-frutos.jpeg


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Cultivation, use, and cultural elaboration of cacao were early and extensive in Mesoamerica. Ceramic
vessel with residues from the preparation of cacao beverages have been found at archaeological sites
dating back to the Early ages(1900-900 BC) period. For example, one such vessel found at an Olmec
archaeological site on the Gulf Coast of mexico.dates cacao's preparation by pre-Olmec peoples as
early as 1750 BC.

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Studies of the Theobroma cacao tree genetics suggests a domestication and spread from lowland Amazonia,
contesting an earlier hypothesis that the tree was domesticated independently in both the Lacandon area of Mexico, and in Amazonia. The cacao tree belongs to the Theobroma genus, in the Sterculiaceae family, that contains 22 species.

Today, the most common of the cultivated species is Theobroma cacao, with two subspecies and three forms. Wild cacaos falling into two groups. The South American subspecies spaerocarpum has a fairly smooth melon-like fruit. In contrast, the Mesoamerican cacao subspecies has ridged, elongated fruits. At some unknown early date, the subspecies T. cacao reached the southern lowlands of Mesoamerica and came into wide usage.

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The Mayas believes

The Maya believed that the kakaw (cacao) was discovered by the gods in a mountain that also contained other
delectable foods to be used by the Maya. According to Maya Mithology, the Plumed Serpent gave cacao to the
Maya after humans were created from maize by divine grandmother goddess Xmucane. The Maya celebrated an
annual festival in April to honor their cacao god, EK Chuah, an event that included the sacrifice of a dog with cacao colored markings; additional animal sacrifices; offerings of cacao, feathers and incense; and an exchange of gifts.

In a similar creation story, theMexica(Aztec) god Quetzalcoatl discovered cacao , in a mountain filled with other
plant foods was offered regularly to a pantheon of Mexica deities and covering the cacao with blood as a suitable
sacrifice to the gods. The cacao beverage as ritual were used only by men, as it was believed to be toxic for women and children.

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There are several mixtures of cacao described in ancient texts, for ceremonial, medicinal uses as well as culinary purposes. Some mixtures included corn, chilli, vanila (Vanilla planifolia), and honey. Cacao was also believed to be ground by the Aztecs and mixed with tobacco for smoking purposes.

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cacao´s discovery

The first Europeans to encounter cacao were Christopher Columbus and his crew in 1502,when they captured a canoe at Guanaja that contained a quantity of mysterious-looking "almonds." The first real European knowledge about chocolate came in the form of a beverage which was first introduced to the Spanish at their meeting with Moctezuma in the Aztec capital ofTenochtitlan in 1519. Cortez and others noted the vast quantities of this beverage that the Actec emperor consumed, and how it was carefully whipped by his attendants beforehand.

Examples of cacao beans along with other agricultural products were brought back to Spain at that time, but it seems that the beverage made from cacao was introduced to the Spanish court in 1544 by Kekchi Maya nobles brought from the New World to Spain by Dominican friars to meet Prince Henry.

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