Why is it called Chocolate?


When we hear the word “chocolate”, we usually think of a brown chocolate bar. We also associate it with the words “sweet” and “happiness”. But do you ever wonder why it is called “chocolate”?

Its history traces back from Mesoamerica, during the early civilization. It was the Mayans who discovered the cacao beans that grew wild in their tropical rain forests. From there, the Mayans and the Aztecs recognized the use of the cacao beans. This is where the great discovery of chocolates began!

The term “chocolate”, on its etymology sense, can be a little bit confusing. It is said that it came from Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs), from the word “chocolatl” which means bitter water. However, its derivation was not found from the central Mexican sources.

According to William Bright, an American linguist, the word “chocolate” came from Mayan word “chokol” meaning “hot”, and the Nahuatl “atl” meaning “water”. Thus, chocolates used to be a drink in the early days. Mayans and Aztecs used cacao beans as an offering to their gods and made chocolate drink out of it for their sacred ceremonies. They even used the cacao beans as a form of their currency. At the present time, most experts describe chocolate as the processed, typically sweetened food made from cacao beans. We should be grateful to our ancestors’ creativity for this comfort food that most of us crave for!