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The Mayans consumed chocolate by first harvesting the seeds (or beans) from cacao trees. They would ferment and sundry them, roast and remove their shells, afterwards they ground them into paste and combined them with water, cornmeal, chili peppers and other spices.

Then poured the spicy-bitter mixture back and forth between two containers to create a frothy head. Although chocolate was clearly a favorite of Mayan royals and priests, commoners likely enjoyed the drink on at least some occasions as well. Many ancient Mayan artifacts are decorated with paintings of the people gathering, preparing, or drinking cacao. It appears to have been a truly integral part of their religious and social lives.

The cacao bean and beverage were used in a variety of religious rituals honoring the Mayan gods. Liquid chocolate sometimes would stand for blood, and was considered as “God food”. The Mayans even had a Cacao God. They also had extensive trade networks that helped ensure steady supplies of cacao.