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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Could Our Love of Chocolate be the Result of Ancient Beer?

Researchers believe that our love affair with chocolate may have its roots in early Central American beer.

Researchers from Cornell University have published a paper that says the first use of cocoa was earlier than originally thought, likely around 1000 BC, when brewers in Central America made a primitive beer from the fermented pulp of cocoa fruit.

The researchers believe the cocoa beer, or chicha, eventually resulted in the frothy chocolate drinks made from the seed of the cacao tree that were a big part of Mesoamericans society starting about 500 years later. John Henderson, a professor of anthropology at Cornell University and lead author of the study, says the cocoa beer is likely the foundation of the modern world's chocolate industry.

Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to taste chocolate in Mexico during the 16th century. They brought the Aztec drink back to Europe and chocolate would become one of the world's most popular sweets.

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