When Chocolate was a Meal
The modern day presentation from Max Brenner, an Israeli chocolate shop chain, I had first come across
Deploying cacao beans and chocolate infusions in dishes was popular that ancient Mexicans had snapped it up
Archaeologists say they have found traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate in the Yucatan peninsula, the first time they have found ancient chocolate residue on a plate rather than a cup, suggesting it may have been used as a condiment or sauce with solid food.
Experts have long thought cacao beans and pods were mainly used in pre-Hispanic cultures as a beverage, made either by crushing the beans and mixing them with liquids or fermenting the pulp that surrounds the beans in the pod. Such a drink was believed to have been reserved for the elite.
The fragments were later subjected to tests with the help of experts at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., as part of a joint project. The tests revealed a "ratio of theobromine and caffeine compounds that provide a strong indicator of cacao usage," according to a statement by the university.
Cacao vs. Cocoa:
Cacao? What is that? Don’t you mean cocoa? And how do you say it anyway? Chocolate linguistics can be confusing. It comes down to this: The official name of the chocolate tree is Theobroma cacao but, some experts say, over the years the word “cacao” became Anglicized, and probably through error, people started replacing it with the word “cocoa”. (Most of us grew up saying cocoa bean, not cacao bean.) Now, with the rebirth of old-style, artisanal chocolate there is a movement to reclaim the bean’s rightful name: cacao (pronounced Ka-Kow).