[Sca-cooks] Pepper in chocolates

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Mon Aug 27 22:57:22 PDT 2007

Cacao is naturally occurring in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins along 
the eastern Andean foothills and may have had a range as far north as 
southeastern Mexico.  While there is no direct evidence, it is believed that 
the Olmec harvested and used cacao and that the practice was adopted by the 
Mayans and later the Aztecs.  Since we know that the Aztec added chili 
pepper to their chocolate, I would say that that would constitute chocolate 
with pepper in the northern hemisphere and is probably where it originated. 
Modernly, I've never encountered such chocolate.

I'm uncertain of the range of the Mapuche, but there is evidence of cacao 
being traded to the Inca and it may be that cacao was also traded into 
Chile.  I suspect that pepper in chocolate is a Mayan (if not an Olmec) 
preparation and that its use by other than Mesoamerican tribes may be 
indicative of pre-Columbian trade.

I should also point out that I can't rule out the Conquistadors as an avenue 
of introduction of chocolate and pepper to the Mapuche, although a more 
knowledgeable person might be able to do so.


>    Does that mean that we have from Aztecs to the Mapuches (Chilean
> native Indians) adding pepper to chocolate? Do we have chocolate with
> pepper in the northern hemisphere too? It sounds really odd to me.
> Suey

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