Sacred Ceremonies, Serotonin Surges and Spanish Courts – the alluring history of the Cacao Bean.
Cacao has long been thought of as one of the most sacred foods on the planet. Prized throughout the centuries as an aphrodisiac, a powerful medicine and as a currency for trade, the legend of the cacao bean has been long shrouded in hushed reverence, allure, mystery and a pinch of intrigue.
The Mayans and the Aztecs used cacao both as a form of food and as a system of currency. The first type of cacao tree, known as Theobroma, or, Tree of Life, dates back almost 4000 years. Believed to have originated from deep within the Amazon, it was considered by indigenous people of South America to be the divine food of the Gods. Several mixtures of cacao are described in sacred, ancient texts for use in ceremony and medicine as well as culinary use.
Christopher Columbus first came upon cacao on his journey through Nicaragua in 1502 while searching for a sea route for the spice trade. But it was several more years until a Spanish explorer, Hernan Cortés brought the recipe back to the Spanish Courts.
The conditions required for growing cacao are distinct and essential. A stable warm-to-hot temperature is needed all year round. Add a good dose of humidity, plenty of rainfall and the touch of steamy sunshine rays, and you have the perfect environment to grow this superfood.
Today, cacao is grown across the world, with major plantations in South America, West Africa, Brazil, Indonesia and even in Australia, in far north Queensland.
Considered by many to be a superfood, cacao contains high level of antioxidants, oleic acid, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, potassium and zinc. It also contains the amino acid tryptophan which stimulates the production of serotonin, the chemical in the brain that is linked to the promotion of feelings of joy and well being. The health benefits of raw cacao are many. It is said to contain more than 300 different chemical compounds and more than 20 times the antioxidant power of blueberries. Protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulphur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are also present in raw cacao.
Some foods, it seems, are just SUPER.
Join us on Sunday 30th September for a traditional Cacao Ceremony, A Gift from the Mayan Gods – For the Love and Connection that Pure Chocolate Brings, led by Meta B Doherty, as she shares her wealth of knowledge through sacred ceremony, using precious ceremonial cacao, to raise the vibration of the heart and soul.