Ancient beer pots point to origins of chocolate

Posted on November 16, 2007 

Ancient beer pots point to origins of chocolate

Chocolate was first produced by the ancients as a by-product of beer, suggests a new archaeological study. And evidence from drinking vessels left by the Mesoamericans who developed chocolate suggests that the source of chocolate, cacao, was first used 500 years earlier than thought.

Mesoamericans – who flourished in central America before it was colonised by the Spanish – developed chocolate as a by-product of fermenting cacao fruit to make a beer-like drink called chicha still brewed by South American tribal people.

The Mesoamericans before Columbus’s time, developed a taste for the chocolate, but their cousins down in South America stuck with the beer, says Cornell University archaeologist John Henderson, who led the new study.

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