History

The legend of chocolate

 

On the territory of Mexico of today, where the Mayas lived before, once upon a time there lived a king. He was called Quetzacoatl. He was also called a Winged Snake. He reigned over the Toltec nation in a fabulously rich town in the 10th century AC. Ha was not only a simple king, but the gardener of the Garden of Eden. He brought the cacao-tree from there, because of which his nation admired him as a god. The Native Americans considered the cocoa-tree to be a tree of God, because it gave them food and drink. They made spoons and dishes from its peel and baskets, nets and ropes from the tree and covered their houses with its leaves.

The king was very rich, he had immense treasures, but desired immortality. He visited Tezcatlipoca to ask for a spell. The evil magician, however, made a poisonous brew, which made Quetzacoatl's mind clouded. Turning mad he rushed to the bank of the river got on the board of a raft made of snakes and called: "I will come back in the year of the cane, and take back my power!"

The Aztecs following the Toltecs did not forget the gardener god, who gave them the cocoa-tree. They made a drink called "xocolatl" (sour water), chocolate from the dried and roasted cacao beans. The last Aztec king Montezuma II liked it very much and consumed it from a golden cup. In his warehouse he piled a huge amount of cacao beans up. (The beans were used also as money: for 100 beans a slave, for 10 love could be bought for a night.)

The year of the cane arrived: 1519. One day a comet appeared in the sky and an earthquake shook the land. The sages predicted that Quetzacoatl would return on 21st April. The Spanish conqueror, Hernado Cortez landed that time. His troop wore feathered helmets, their armour sparkled like the scales of a snake. Montezuma II believed that the Feathered Snake returned, therefore welcomed the commander with the greatest honour, offered him chocolate and "gave back" his empire. When he realised his mistake, it was already late.

Cortez did not really like the sour cold drink, but noticed that it quenches your thirst and refreshes. He insisted the growing of the plant and established the first cacao plantation of the Spanish empire on the island of Haiti. The Spanish prepared chocolate with hot water, sweetened it with sugar, and flavoured it with vanilla, cinnamon and clove. It spread in Europe this way and conquered the civilised world of that time.