Mexican Chocolate Cacao: Food of the Gods
Cacao is the dried seed of the cacao tree that’s used to make cocoa powder and chocolate. The cacao tree is a tropical flowering tree native to the Americas. Its scientific name, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.” The first instances of cacao processing and culinary use can be traced back to the ancient cultures that once inhabited what is now central and southern Mexico.
Spanish nuns in Puebla are credited with adding sugar, cinnamon, eggs, almonds and vanilla to create the recipe that has come to be known as “Mexican chocolate.” The Spanish are also credited with milling cacao into solid tablets and introducing the idea of using chocolate as an ingredient in cooking. Today, chocolate continues to play an important role in Mexican cuisine and it’s a key ingredient in one of the country’s signature dishes, mole poblano, which is named after the state of Puebla.