Once upon a time, cacao was used as a trade good among the Olmec and Maya , and was formerly reserved for royalty only in Europe. In Costa Rica, cacao was one of the most important export goods for decades. In the past 4,000 years, chocolate undoubtedly exerted an irresistible appeal on several cultures, and in some cultures, cacao beans were even used as currency.
Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree, which is native to America and only grows in humid tropical areas. Both the Mayans and the Aztecs were convinced that cacao beans had magical or even divine properties. They therefore gave cacao an important role in their rituals, as remedies and for festive occasions. Etymologists derive the word "chocolate" from the Aztec word "Xocoatl". It is the name of a bitter drink YOU CAN TRY at the ChocoTour, which was very popular in the cultures of that time and was made from fermented, roasted and ground cacao beans. Sweetened with honey or cane sugar, hot chocolate quickly gained popularity throughout Spain. In the 17th century, chocolate was a popular drink throughout Europe, but especially in the royal houses and in affluent circles.
Although cacao originates from the Neotropical Zone of America, today it is mainly cultivated in West Africa, South and Central America, Southeast Asia and Oceania. In Costa Rica, cacao has a long history. The beans were used by the indigenous peoples as currency in pre-Columbian times, a tradition which lasted until late 1930s. The cultivation of cacao was here centuries before the introduction of coffee as the main industry in the country. Cacao remained until the year 1979 an important export product of Costa Rica.
Now a day Cacao in Costa Rica is booming, with high quality small farmers, great artisan chocolate makers everywhere and just so much to enjoy in terms of Chocolate. Costa Rica has won Best Cacao in Paris twice so… we are small but AMAZING.