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Experts: Mayans may have used chocolate as spice

Friday, August 03, 2012    

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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) — Archaeologists have discovered traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. They say that suggests cocoa may have been used not just as a beverage, but as a condiment in sauces for food.

Experts have long thought cocoa beans and pods were mainly used in pre-Hispanic cultures as a beverage, made either by crushing the beans and mixing them with liquids or fermenting the pulp that surrounds the beans in the pod.

But Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History says that for the first time chocolate traces have been found on fragments of a plate, not a cup, suggesting it was severed with solid foods.

Modern Mexicans eat a chocolate-based sauce known as mole, often with chicken.

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