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Native American Chocolate – A Rich History

In its long legacy, chocolate has been one of the most valuable and sought-after delicacies across the globe. Its origins stretch back thousands of years to the early Mesoamerican cultures of North, Central and South America, where the cacao tree is native. The word “chocolate” itself is believed to be derived from the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to the bitter drink consumed by the Aztec people. Cocoa played a significant role in the cultural and economic development of these regions, and has been integral to the religious and social lives of their peoples.

In these early years, the cacao tree and its beans were treated with the utmost reverence and respect, considered magical, even sacred. Roasted, fermented and mixed with spices to produce a frothy beverage, this cacao bean concoction was thought to give immense power and energy to the consumer, and it was often used in religious ceremonies such as marriage and birth. Eventually, the cacao bean had become so valuable throughout these early American cultures that it was used as a form of currency.

When Europeans made their way to the Americas, the bitter, frothy drink was transformed. By mixing sugar with the beverage, a new delicacy was made. This exotic chocolate drink, believed to act as a healing agent and an aphrodisiac, would see popularity among Europe’s royalty and elite, but remain largely inaccessible to society at large.

It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s that chocolate became available to the public. Advances in machinery allowed for large quantities of cacao to be processed into cocoa powder, which could then be mixed with sugar, milk and other products to make all the delicious chocolate treats we know today.

While chocolate has been transported, transformed, and beloved by people worldwide, there are none more experienced at the process of making fine chocolate than the Native American cultures which first discovered and perfected its delicate recipe. Today, Bedré Fine Chocolate continues this legacy with expertly crafted Native American chocolate and natural, unique ingredients that pay tribute to our past. For more information about Bedré Fine Chocolate and the Chickasaw Nation, Contact Us.