Cacao And Chocolate Essay

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Cacao trees and its bean filled pods, from which all chocolate comes from, have a long, rich history throughout the world but none is more elaborate or as well illustrated as the histories that have been inherited throughout all of Latin America. Cacao played a large role in the lives of civilizations across Latin America, being used in everything from medicine to ritual sacrifice. Many beliefs and practices that were passed down from ancient civilizations have lost significance and value among their descendants. Yet much of what has to do with cacao and chocolate has withstood the test of time and they continue to be a part of the daily lives of the people who live in or come from what was once considered Mesoamerica.
With a time span ranging from 1500 B.C. to 100 B.C, the Olmecs were the first of the ancient Mesoamerican civilizations to use cacao as a food source. As well as drinking the cacao or kakaw as it was known to them, they were able to figure out a way to process cacao so that it could be eaten. The methods that are used today to ferment, dry, roast, and grind cacao are modernizations of the very same methods that were originally developed by the Olmecs. The reason those methods are still around today was that the Olmecs were willing to share their knowledge and passed these techniques down to the Mayans.
Taking the knowledge learned from the Olmecs, the Mayans continued processing chocolate and developed a serious love for it. They believe that cacao was the food of the Gods and as such it was reserved for the elite, the fiercest of warriors, and of course, for human sacrifices. The Mayans believed that the food of the Gods should be used while paying homage to them and therefore many who were sacrificed were fed ...

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... remedies “witch craft”, a term which we have all adopted when referring to said treatments. But sometimes, I think that they must work due to the longevity of this family, my great great grandma Rosa died in 1996, when she was 113 years old, my great grandma Marina died at 99, and my grandfather is currently 96 years old!
From learning more in depth about what my Mayan ancestors to do with cacao and chocolate to being able to sit down with my grandma and talk about her experience with cacao from a young age, this research paper has afforded me a range of opportunities that I would have never taken advantage of without actually needing to. I learned so much, that I’m really disappointed that I won’t be able to go back to Lobos Reales (my family’s plantation) again to be actually put this knowledge to the test amongst the masters of cacao that my family employed.

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