History of Cacao 5, Azteca 2
Hello my fellow chocolate lovers,
I am Takanori Chiwata, the chocolate engineer of COCONAMA CHOCOLATE.
In our last post, we shared about how cacao played an important role in a sacred ritual of Aztec Empire.
Today, I would like to share how cacao was used in their everyday life. As I mentioned before, cacao wasn’t something that was part of commoner’s daily diet. It was only the higher classed authorities who were able to enjoy cacao on a daily basis.
First of all, it is believed that the king and the nobles drank the cacao drink frequently in the day.
Secondly, the soldiers. However, it was only the upper class soldiers, who were properly trained and educated at military institutions, that were allowed to savour cacao. It is recorded that they processed cacao so that they were able to have them handy even during the march.
Finally and to your surprise, the traders. Not just any traders though, it was only the long distance traders. Their job was far from safe. They armed up and traveled dangerous paths to trade goods in the city, and came back through the same paths. They were perhaps seen as some sort of warriors considering how risking their job was.
The traders organized guild, and to gain a status within it, it was necessary for one to occasionally invite other traders for a lavish feast. During the feast, large amounts of chocolates were always served. I assume that chocolate was a symbol of power. Additionally, The higher-ups drank chocolates in a special cup that was especially made for chocolates with detailed designs, while the lower-ranks used a plain china cup.
But why did chocolate gain so much popularity from the Aztecs?
The Aztecs lived a very simple and self-restraining life. This was because they were very proud of the fact they made their way up to building the greatest empire,by boldly facing the hardships they encountered in a deserted land of Mexico.
Then why did these self-restraining tribes treasure and consume chocolate, which was the height of luxury?
A drink called “puluque”, which they were familiar with from ages ago, is one of the reasons. Puluque is a mildly alcoholic beverage made by fermenting Agave.
It is recorded that Aztecs prohibited alcohol, considering it was an evil act. This prohibition was very strict, and anyone who broke this were to face death penalty.
In a culture like that, it was only natural for the chocolate to gain popularity from the upper class as an alternate luxury beverage.
But the fundamental of Aztecs was “Abstinence” and the chocolate was a height of luxury… Don’t these two contradict? Many records were found about this, but it turns out that Aztecs just couldn’t resist the amazingness of chocolate.
In the few previous posts, I shared about the connection between the Aztecs and cacao/chocolates.
In our next post, I would like to move on to the next era. Here comes Spain and the cacao will finally spread around the world from American continent!
With hopes that you will be able to encounter the perfect chocolate just for you,