This holiday season, how many of us plan on paying extra close attention to how much chocolate we eat? Whether it's keeping to a bit of a diet when surrounded by delicious Christmas treats, or yelling out "Tis the season!" before diving into the advent calendars and fondue, we all have a sweet spot in our hearts for this amazing food item.
Chocolate has always been a part of our lives. As kids we would get it when we were good, as teenagers when we had the cash to spend, and as we grew older it was there for us in ways that some lovers never could be.
But chocolate has been around for a lot longer than any of us, and it has played a huge role in how some societies developed and interacted with the heavens above.
Records of this sweet treat go far back as the Mayan and Aztec civilizations, and while they used it in similar ways to us, if you had it back then it would probably make you gag!
The civilizations of pre-Mexico would harvest cacao bean and mix it into a paste of water, vanilla, honey, chili peppers, and anything else they thought was both healthy and delicious.
So far, not so bad. They would then drink it, as opposed to eating it in bars, but instead of the mouthwatering, sweet treat most of us are used to, it would likely taste more like a really bitter coffee.
The beverage served was a mood enhancer (duh) and aphrodisiac (nudge-nudge), and it was seen as a holy relic.
The Mayans worshiped a god that presided over the cacao beans, and only priests, warriors, and sacred leaders could partake in the spiritual drink.
In fact, famous Aztec emperor Montezuma reportedly drank three gallons a day to increase his sexual libido, and the beans were so valuable that they were used as currency for centuries in the area.
Maybe it's not as weird that we love chocolate so much. After all, it's a gift of the gods!