The History of Cacao
Common Name: Cacao, or Kakaw.
Indigenous Names: Cacahualtl (Náhualt), Xau (Maya), Cacau (Yucatán), Caco (Pocomchí) Kicou or Kikob (Pocomchi) Cu-culat (Salamá) Pacxoc (Huehuetenango) Xau, Kaka-we Balmate (Maya)
Botanic Name: Theobroma cacao
(given by Carl Linnaeus, which in Latin means: Food of the Gods.)
Uses: Its main use today is to make chocolate.
The Ancient Maya used the seeds as currency, Meaning, there was a time when money actually DID grow on trees!
2,500 years ago in the Maya lowlands, the Maya were making a chocolate drink from cacao. In the beginning of the 17th Century, a delegation of Quechi Maya nobles from Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, introduced the cacao drink to the Spanish court, BEFORE coffee or tea were introduced.
Chocolate remained an elite drink, too expensive for the average person to enjoy, and often, even forbidden....
Until a Dutchman, (Mr. Van Houten) invented a way of making the drink into a solid- the first candy bar! Chocolate became big business and the cultivation of the cacao tree was spread.