Mayans may have used chocolate spice

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iol scitech aug 6 cacao

AP

File photo: a chocolate pod filled with cacao beans, is shown in Puerto Rico. Use of chocolate goes back to the Mayans, who considered it a gift from their god of air, Quetzalcoatl.

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

Experts have long thought cacao 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. - Sapa-AP

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