The history of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica. Chocolate, the fermented, roasted, and ground beans, can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people, with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to 1900 BC. Chocolate played a special role in both Maya and Aztec royal and religious events. Priests presented cacao seeds as offerings to the gods and served chocolate drinks during sacred ceremonies. All of the areas that were conquered by the Aztecs that grew cacao beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a "tribute".
The Europeans sweetened and fattened it by adding refined sugar and milk, two ingredients unknown to the Aztecs and Mayas. By contrast, they never infused it into their general diet, but have compartmentalized its use to sweets and desserts. In the 19th century, Briton John Cadbury developed an emulsification process to make solid chocolate creating the modern chocolate bar.
You can grind the cacao beans to prepare the drink of the Inca Gods - mixing the cacao beans with hot water, vanilla, cinnamon and even hot pepper! Or, if you prefer, cacao beans can be eaten as is. You want to cook with cacao!
Can be preserved in a cool, dry cupboard protected from light and humidity.
The fruit of the cacao bean grows out of the trunk of the cacao tree!