While I was in Seattle I had the opportunity to chat with (and film) Rodney Snyder, who is an expert chocolate historian and the Research Director for The Historic Division of Mars. He has published books and visited over seventy cocoa and chocolate factories all over the world.
Aside from discovering chocolate has been consumed as a drink for most of it's existence, I also learned these fascinating facts:
- Grinding the roasted beans, combined with other unique indigenous plants, would have led to the first chocolate drink. The chocolate recipes included ingredients such as ground corn, allspice, chili pepper, pine nuts, and ear flower (custard apple). The chocolate drink was poured back and forth from one vessel to another until it was foamy (similar to the froth on modern-day cappuccinos).
- The story of the origin of chocolate and cocoa pods were part of religious ceremonies. Chocolate was reserved for adult males and consumed by priests, high government officials, military officers, distinguished warriors, and occasionally sacrificial victims of ritual purposes.
- John and Abigail Adams were very fond of chocolate. In 1779, John Adams, while in Spain, wrote, "Ladies drink chocolate in the Spanish fashion. Each lady took a cup of hot chocolate and drank it, and then cakes and bread and butter were served; then each lady took another cup of cold water, and here ended the repast."
They kindly gave me a warm sample of this "Chocolate Tea", made from their chocolate. It tastes like a luxurious melted spiced chocolate drink, perfect for sipping. Regular old hot chocolate fails in comparison.
American Heritage Chocolate (Division of Mars) is an authentic line of products that celebrates the history of chocolate. Their recipe is made with all-natural ingredients and shares the same character as chocolate made in the colonial times. If you would like to try it you can order it on-line. For recipes visit: http://www.americanheritagechocolate.com/html/recipes.htm