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Chocolate in MesoamericaA Cultural History of Cacao$
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Cameron McNeil

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813029535

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813029535.001.0001

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The Good and Evil of Chocolate in Colonial Mexico

The Good and Evil of Chocolate in Colonial Mexico

(p.273) 13 The Good and Evil of Chocolate in Colonial Mexico
Chocolate in Mesoamerica

Aguilar-moreno Manuel

University Press of Florida

Cacao or cacahuaquahuitl was highly valued among the Aztecs. Cacao seeds were used as currency and were also used for creating ccahuaatl or chocolate which was then a prestigious beverage available only to the elites of the society. Cacao also had a significant niche in the pre-Columbian religion. Cacao was used as a celebratory drink and an offering to the gods. By the arrival of the Spanish, the Aztecs were asked to give cacao as tributes and offerings to the saints of the Spaniards, adopting the cacao use of the Aztecs into Spanish religion and incorporating cacao into commercial use. This chapter examines how cacao was incorporated into Catholic Colonial society in Mexico. It also discusses some of the dilemmas faced by the new devotees on cacao use in the new religion introduced among the Aztecs. While a Catholic “god” was placed in the Cathedral of Mexico City, this was primarily done to collect valuable tributes of cacao. The chapter also examines the controversies raised by the use of cacao as comestible in the Catholic culture. In this chapter prohibitions regarding the consumption of cacao as food and drink during fasting periods and prohibitions that were based on the difficulty of defining cacao as a food and beverages are addressed.

Keywords:   cacao, Aztecs, chocolate, religion, Colonial society, Mexico, use of cacao, Catholic culture

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