ONCE upon a time, some 3000 years ago, the ancestors of George – most curious of monkeys – discovered an irresistibly sweet delight hidden inside the colourful fruits of the cacao tree.
In their raw state the cacao pod is inedible, as are the cacao seeds – or ‘beans’.
What monkeys love to feast on is the fleshy white pulp that surrounds the beans. They spat out the beans because of their unpalatable bitterness.
Discerning monkeys spitting out the bitter seeds led to the proliferation of cacao trees throughout the region of Mesoamerica (modern day Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Mexico).
Man soon copied monkey, reveling in the delights of the sweet pulp. Man, however, cannot survive on cacao pulp alone and since the ratio of cacao trees to humans was so high, the Olmecs, Toltecs and the Mayans came to ask: “What else can we do with this fruit?”
This question led to inevitable experimentation, ending with the Mayan creation Xocolatl – a bitter, spicy drink… the world’s very first chocolate.
Question: which species of monkey discovered cacao?
The first correct answer posted to the Mayan Mijas Facebook page wins an Express Chocolate Workshop for two.