The origins of chocolate can be traced back to the ancient Maya and Aztec civilisations in Central America, who first enjoyed 'chocolate' a much-prized spicy drink made from roasted cocoa beans. Chocolate was exclusively for drinking until the early Victorian era when a technique for making solid 'eating' chocolate was devised. Throughout its history, whether as cocoa, a drinking chocolate beverage or confectionery treat, chocolate has been a much sought after food.
The story of cocoa begins with cocoa trees, which, for thousands of years, grew wild in the tropical rain forests of the Amazon basin and other tropical areas in Central and South America. Hundreds of years before cocoa was brought to Europe, the Maya Indians and the Aztecs recognised the value of cocoa beans both as an ingredient for their special drink and as currency.
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