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Money grows on trees?!?

Indeed this was very true at one time. The Mayans were the first major civilization to use cacao as currency. They also used it shamanically and ritualistically. It was a revered treasure in many ways. Cacao beans continued to be currency in Central America until 1887. For example, in 1545 you could purchase a turkey with 200 cacao beans. The price of one avocado was 3 cacao beans. Daily wages were paid in cacao beans and that is what one would bring to market to do their shopping. How they kept from eating their currency is beyond me. The fact that a cacao bean is only good for three years meant that it must be kept in the flow and it was impossible to pile and hoard like gold. Counterfeiting of cacao was common but was punishable by death!

1519. Cacao goes to Europe and Beyond

Spanish explorer Hernandes Cortez planted a cacao plantation in 1519 in Central America because he wanted to "grow money." Who wouldn't?!
cortez

He and his Spanish fleet nicknamed cacao beans "black gold." When he returned to Spain in 1528 he presented the beans to King Charles and they began mixing cacao with other spices, making a "bitter drink." The "black gold" was reserved for royalty and nobles, and Spain actually kept cacao secret for 100 years.

1585. Cacao began getting imported to Spain

island of thome
...from Mexico in 1585. Word eventually got out and London opened the first "chocolate house" in 1657. It was a meeting place for the elite. The first solid chocolate was introduced in 1674. Chocolate was introduced to America in 1765 thanks to an Irish chocolatier. To help meet the demand the "food of the Gods" had created, the first industrial size chocolate factory was built in 1800.
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1971. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

willy wonka chocolate
The literary masterpiece by Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was published in 1964 and made into the movie Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory in 1971.

1991. Green & Black's

green and blacks organic chocolate
The first organic chocolate bar was produced in 1991 in London, England by Green & Black's.

2000. Raw Chocolate

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Raw chocolate has become wildly popular in the last few years. I am honestly not sure who made the first raw chocolate bar but David Wolfe certainly put it on the map. We love the book he co-wrote with Shazzie Naked Chocolate.






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