As the winter chill creeps in, the thought of evenings in front of a blazing fire with a mug of comforting hot chocolate becomes ever more attractive. The Aztecs first brewed cocoa hundreds of years ago, but it’s doubtful that it tasted much like our current day treat.
First discovered around 1250 BCE, the Aztecs used chocolate for ceremonies such as weddings. It was very bitter in flavor. In fact, the word chocolate comes from the Aztec word “xocoatl” meaning bitter water. The Aztecs valued cocoa so much that they even used the beans as currency.
Although cocoa originated in South America, today most–around 30%–is grown in Africa. Chocolate was first brought to Europe in 1550 where it quickly became popular. Today you’ll find chocolate in every country around the world.
While chocolate does contain sugar, it is actually good for you, and the darker the chocolate the better. Dark chocolate is free of cholesterol and it contains over 600 flavor compounds, which is why it’s so delicious.
According to an article in the BBC, chocolate stimulates the brain to produce more endorphins than a kiss does and the thrill lasts for longer. So, what are you waiting for? Go grab that cup of hot chocolate, or better still, a great big bar of chocolate!