Earliest chocolate drink found





Our love affair with chocolate began at least 500 years earlier than previously thought, and was combined with a love of alcohol too, according to traces of the treat found in pottery shards uncovered in Honduras.

Archaeologists have long known that cocoa was cultivated in the land between the Americas - including what today is Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize - for thousands of years and was the favourite drink of the powerful elite.

Chocolate ultimately became the standard of economic value, or "money," for the Aztec empire, who used it for virtually all social and ritual occasions so it became one of the most fashionable and valued commodities in 16th-century central America.

Today, researchers say that residue of the chemical theobromine, which occurs in Mesoamerica only in the cacao plant used to make chocolate, is present in the shattered remains of liquid-holding pottery vessels dating from somewhere between 1400 and 1100 BC, marking the earliest known chocolate drink of the New World.


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