An Exotic Drink

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
The story of chocolate begins in the New World with the cacao tree, which probably evolved in the river valleys of equatorial South America. The tree bears large, tough seed pods that also contain a sweet, moist pulp, and early peoples may have carried the pods into Central America and southern Mexico as a portable source of energy and moisture. It appears that the first people to cultivate the tree were the Olmecs of the southern Gulf coast of Mexico. They in turn introduced it sometime before 600 BCE to the