Chocolate….just the word makes many a woman’s heart flutter. Now, archaeologists have stated that they found traces of chocolate on a plate in the Yucatan that dates back to, on, about 500 BCE. It makes archaeologists think that chocolate sauces like moles were used a lot further back than they had thought. Originally, they believed that pre-Conquest cultures only used chocolate to make beverages.
Archaeologist Tomas Gallareta stated that “This is the first time it has been found on a plate used for serving food. It is unlikely that it was ground there (on the plate), because for that they probably used metates (grinding stones).”
The archaeologists identified chemical substances that indicate chocolate was on fragments of plates uncovered at the Paso del Macho archaeological site. The tests found a “ratio of theobromine and caffeine compounds that provide a strong indicator of cacao usage,” according to the Millsaps College.
John S. Henderson of Cornell University stated that “These are certainly interesting results.” Henderson was not involved in the project, but is the world’s foremost expert on ancient chocolate. He also stated that “the presence of cacao residues on plates is even more interesting … the important thing is that it was on flat serving vessels and so presented or served in some other way than as a beverage. . .I think their inference that cacao was being used in a sauce is likely correct, though I can imagine other possibilities,” he added, citing possibilities like “addition to a beverage (cacao-based or other) as a condiment or garnish.”