A study released today claims that natives of Central America were drinking beverages made from cacao (the seeds which chocolate comes from) even before 1000 BC, 500 years earlier than previously thought. What’s so important about that to a blog all about beer, you ask? According to a report on the study,
These early cacao beverages were probably alcoholic brews, or beers, made from the fermented pulp of the cacao fruit, rather than the frothy chocolate-flavored drink made from the seed of the cacao tree that was such an important feature of later Mesoamerican culture.
It seems that the first chocolate drinks, made more than a thousand years before the birth of Christ, were really chocolate-flavored beer!
…In brewing up this primitive beer, or chicha, the ancient Mesoamericans may have stumbled on the secret to making chocolate-flavored drinks, the paper said.
“In the course of beer brewing, you discover that if you ferment the seeds of the plant you get this chocolate taste,” said John Henderson, a professor of anthropology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and lead author of the paper.
The evidence, which was unearthed by Henderson in what is modern-day Honduras, suggests that the beer was popular among wealthy natives at least as early as 1100 BC. It is believed that the beer was drank by the wealthy to celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays & marriages, “or the fact that the fridge is still running” (-Dave Barry).