Mayans may have used chocolate spice

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.

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. Credit: AP

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