The Mesoamericans were the first to take advantage of the ideal climate to grow cacao in Mexico. Remnants of chocolate have been discovered in Olmec and Mayan ruins. The main form of chocolate consumption in Mexico was first as a fermented beverage. These drinks were very different from the sweet chocolate bars we love today.
The Aztecs began to treasure the cacao bean just as much as the Mayans had, but the Aztecs ate it cold.
The Aztecs believed the cacao beans were gifts from Quetzalcoatl, the God of Wisdom. They would give xocoátl (the bitter chocolate drink) as sacrifices. Chocolate was also used to relieve stomach pain, colds and fevers. Outside of the ruling classes, chocolate’s main use was as a rudimentary form of currency. It became a great commodity during the Aztec period when the rulers had to import it from damper climes in the southern lowlands.
While the Mesoamericans used chocolate to cure colds and fevers (and as a key ingredient in religious ceremonies), present day Mexico uses it mainly as an ingredient in many famous dishes. Mole sauce uses chocolate, and cold chocolate drinks known as pozol can still be found in certain regions of Mexico. Cinnamon flavored hot chocolate, which is whipped with a traditional molinillo, is a long-standing favorite.
Source: A Brief History of Chocolate in Mexico
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