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What food did Mexico give to the world in the 16th century?


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What: Mexico’s been influencing other cuisines for far longer than Tex-Mex or Taco Bell have been on the scene. In the 1520s, Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés brought cacao beans back to Spain after his conquest of Mexico.

Why: Wealthy Europeans adopted the Aztec tradition of drinking chocolate, and for the next 300 years chocolate was a favorite luxury. European tastes favored a sweeter and more mild chocolate, and they added milk and sugar to the drink — coming closer to the familiar sweet milky chocolate of today.

Get this: These days, the industry produces 3.5 million tons of cocoa year—worth many billions of dollars. Two-thirds of the world’s cocoa supply is grown in West Africa, and Ivory Coast is the single largest cocoa producer.

Discussion: 1 Comment

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