a research on chocolate history i have been working on...want to share it with u
November 25, 2006 11:38am CST
Main article: History of chocolate The word chocolate is derived from the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs of Mexico. The word is derived from the Nahuatl word xocolatl. The word is derived from xocolli bitter, and atl, water. It is associated with the Mayan god of Fertility. Mexican philologist Ignacio Davila Garibi, proposed that "Spaniards had coined the word by taking the Maya word chocol and then replacing the Maya term for water, haa, with the Aztec one, atl."[verification needed] However, it is more likely that the Aztecs themselves coined the term, having long adopted into the Nahuatl the Mayan word for the "cacao" bean; the Spanish had little contact with the Mayans before Cortés's early reports to the Spanish King of the beverage known as xocolatl. The chocolate residue found in an ancient Maya pot suggests that Mayans were drinking chocolate 2,600 years ago, which is the earliest record of cacao use. The Aztecs associated chocolate with Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility. In the New World, chocolate was consumed in a bitter and spicy drink called xocoatl, often seasoned with vanilla, chile pepper, and achiote, (which we know today as annatto). Xocoatl was believed to fight fatigue, a belief that is probably attributable to the theobromine content. Chocolate was an important luxury good throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and cocoa beans were often used as currency. Other chocolate drinks combined it with such edibles as maize gruel (which acts as an emulsifier) and honey. Roughly two-thirds of the entire world's cocoa is produced in Western Africa, with close to half of the total sourced from Côte d'Ivoire. Like many food industry producers, individual cocoa farmers are at the mercy of volatile world markets. The price can vary from £500 ($945) to £3,000 ($5,672) per ton in the space of just a few years. While investors trading in cocoa can dump shares at will, individual cocoa farmers can not increase production or abandon trees at anywhere near that pace. It has been alleged that an estimated 90% of cocoa farms in Côte d'Ivoire have used some form of slave labor in order to remain viable.When cocoa prices drop, farmers in West Africa sometimes cut costs by resorting to slave labor.