Humans and chocolate - a 5,000-year love story

Everyone cracks chocolate either for simple pleasure or real addiction. Chocolate is everywhere in our current life and also… 5 000 years ago.

Chocolate consumption around the world is on a regular rise, according to ConsoGlobe, which found that in the past 3 years, global chocolate consumption has increased to 4 million tonnes per year, equivalent to 127 kg of chocolate per second. This festive food is found on all the tables and shared on all big occasions to celebrate traditional parties and festivals.

And when we’re wondering if our ancestors had such joy with that “brown gold”, the answer comes up with Yes.

The love story between humans and chocolate doesn’t begin recently, even far from it. On an archaeological site in the south of Equator, an international researcher team - many of which are French - updated the oldest trace of cacao on ceramics averaging about 5 300 years.


They founded potteries for drinking cacao similarly to those of Mayas. By 3 different analysis methods, the team confirmed the presence of starch grains characteristic of cacao. According to a researcher, since these grains were found in the bottles, they believe that Mayo Chinchipe people started used concoctions of cacao - the bean as an energy drink.

The Mayan Book Popol Vuh stated that chocolate was used for ceremonial purposes, in addition to everyday life. Maya people used chocolate as preliminaries to marriage and to purify children in a ceremony. Likewise, the decreased shall be along with cacao for the journey to the Beyond.


Mayan Chocolate vessel Illustration [Photograph found in Denver Art Museum, Denver]. (2012, November)

However, this love story of 5000 years between humans and chocolate may soon be ended. Some experts worry about a possible shortage of chocolate over the coming years, particularly due to climate changes. In fact, this plant requires a rich in nitrogen and fertilized soil, abundant rain, high humidity and to be sheltered from the wind. Yet, the average rise of temperature of 2,1 - 3°C is drying out too much the soil. That is why cacao cultivation is disadvantaged by natural environment.

Facing such hard condition, all cocoa tree we can still protect is precious, not mention that from cocoa beans to our chocolate bars, it’s not in the blink of an eye. See how chocolate is made here. 

Who doesn’t like chocolate? Particularly when a scientific study revealed chocolate’s amazing benefices on athletic performance: Discover our interview of this researcher here.