During his conquest of Mexico, Cortez found the Aztec Indians using cocoa beans in the preparation of the royal drink of the realm,
“chocolatl”, meaning warm liquid. In 1519, Emperor Montezuma, who reportedly drank 50 or more portions daily, served chocolatl to his Spanish guests in great golden goblets, treating it like a food for the gods.
For all its regal importance, however, Montezuma’s chocolatl was very bitter, and the Spaniards did not find it to their taste. To make the concoction more agreeable to Europeans, Cortez and his countrymen conceived of the idea of sweetening it with cane sugar.
While they took chocolatl back to Spain, the idea found favor and the drink underwent several more changes with newly discovered spices, such as cinnamon and vanilla. Ultimately, someone decided the drink would taste better if served hot.
The new drink won friends, especially among the Spanish aristocracy. Spain wisely proceeded to plant cocoa in its overseas colonies, which gave birth to a very profitable business. Remarkably enough, the Spanish succeeded in keeping the art of the cocoa industry a secret from the rest of Europe for nearly a hundred years.
Tags: cane sugar, chocolatl, cinnamon, cocoa beans, cocoa industry, concoction, conquest of mexico, cortez, countrymen, emperor montezuma, europeans, golden goblets, hundred years, overseas colonies, profitable business, spaniards, spanish aristocracy, spices, which gave birth