Valentine’s Day is just one week away so what better way to get in the spirit than to share a bit of history on chocolate, more specifically, chocolate and Spain.
Spain was the first country to introduce chocolate to Europe. Apparently the cocoa bean was so precious that Spain was able to keep the magic of chocolate a secret for nearly a century!
It is not very clear where the word chocolate originates. Some say it comes from the Aztec word “chocolatl” or “xocolatl” while others say it comes from the Mayan word “chocol haa” which means hot water. It is said that Christopher Columbus “discovered” cocoa beans but he had no idea how valuable they were so paid little attention to this little gem. Hernan Cortez on the other hand, tried it and that is when cocoa beans made their way to Spain entering through the port of Cadiz in Andalusia.
The Mayans created a drink using the cocoa beans mixed with water and chili pepper. When it was brought to Spain, the Spaniards omitted the chili pepper and instead mixed the cocoa beans with sugar, two very expensive ingredients at the time. The Spaniards also discovered that the drink tasted much better served hot. All of this created the perfect recipe and quickly became a drink that only nobility and the elite could afford to enjoy.
Drinking chocolate (or chocolate in any form for that matter) became a Spanish obsession. It is said that people loved it so much that they began having chocolatadas after Sunday mass. These chocolatadas were social gatherings to drink chocolate. These chocolatadas gave way to chocolaterias which exist all over Spain today. Chocolate is still the breakfast of choice. I think now the history of churros and chocolate becomes perfectly clear.