By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chocolate enjoyed around the world today had its origins at least 3,100 years ago in Central America not as the sweet treat people now crave but as a celebratory beer-like beverage and status symbol, scientists said on Monday.
Researchers identified residue of a chemical compound that comes exclusively from the cacao plant — the source of chocolate — in pottery vessels dating from about 1100 BC in Puerto Escondido, Honduras.
This pushed back by at least 500 years the earliest documented use of cacao, an important luxury commodity in Mesoamerica before European invaders arrived and now the basis of the modern chocolate industry.
(read more at the original article – click here)