Who invented chocolate?
Chocolate’s 4,000-year history began in ancient Mesoamerica, present day Mexico. It’s here that the first cacao plants were found. The Olmec, one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America, were the first to turn the cacao plant into chocolate. They drank their chocolate during rituals and used it as medicine.
Chocolate reaches Spain
No one knows for sure when chocolate came to Spain. Legend has it that explorer Hernan Cortes brought chocolate to his homeland in 1528. Cortes was believed to have discovered chocolate during an expedition to the Americas. In search of gold and riches, he instead found a cup of cocoa given to him by the Aztec emperor.
Chocolate seduces Europe
The Spanish kept chocolate quiet for a very long time. It was nearly a century before the threat reached neighbouring France, and then the rest of Europe.
In 1615, French King Louis XIII married Anne of Austria, daughter of Spanish King Phillip III. To celebrate the union, she brought samples of chocolate to the royal courts of France.