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  • Writer's pictureMafer Chocolate

Chocolate in its origin.

Centuries of knowledge and tradition, innovation according to the time and place. Well-being, aromas, sensations. The tradition of chocolate and its original name come from the original peoples of Mesoamerica. While new genetic research places the origin of the Theobroma cacao species in South America, the center of sophistication of agricultural production and consumption in ceremonial drinks and gastronomy is definitely Mesoamerica, especially Guatemala.

The archaeological and anthropological evidence, as well as the culture still alive in its inhabitants, tells us about the wealth and importance that cocoa has had for centuries in this area of ​​the world. Despite the long wars for the control of territories, cities and captives, the production and transformation of cocoa never stopped. It was not only a bargaining chip, but a form of tribute to the elite indigenous peoples who dominated the lowlands from their cities in the Guatemalan Altiplano.

Witness to this are cities on the South Coast, in the Pacific of Guatemala. Cities as old as Takalik Abaj (Preclassic Maya) in the current Department of Retalhuleu or as mysterious as the archaeological sites of the Cotzumalguapa culture (Preclassic and Classic) in Escuintla, where no writing has been found to tell us what language its inhabitants spoke and there is barely a date, but they are nevertheless full of references to the cultivation, transformation and ritual importance of cacao. Important archaeologists, such as Marion Popenoe and Oswaldo Chinchilla, among others, have studied these archaeological sites and confirm the importance of cocoa during the Pre-Columbian and Colonial Times.

Many of the plantations in the South Pacific of Guatemala maintain similarities with the first plantations and in places like Chocolá, technologies such as special irrigation systems for cocoa have been found. The plaza that is actually a large-scale fermenter at Takalik Abaj and the more than 400 special grinding stones (kaa' in Proto Maya) found near it confirm the technology and knowledge that the original consumers and users of cocoa developed. around this important product.

Photo credit: MF Rivera

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