The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh presents “Of Chocolate and Kings: The Origins and History of Chocolate in Ancient Mexico” on Tuesday, September 1 at 7 p.m.
The tasty secret of the cacao (kah KOW) tree was discovered 2,000 years ago in the tropical rainforests of the Americas. The pods of this tree contain seeds that can be processed into chocolate. The story of how chocolate grew from a local Mesoamerican beverage into a global sweet encompasses many cultures and continents.
The first people known to have made chocolate were the ancient cultures of Mexico and Central America. These people, including the Maya and Aztec, mixed ground cacao seeds with various seasonings to make a spicy, frothy drink.
Later, the Spanish conquistadors brought the seeds back home to Spain, where new recipes were created. Eventually, and the drink’s popularity spread throughout Europe. Since then, new technologies and innovations have changed the texture and taste of chocolate, but it still remains one of the world’s favorite flavors.
Join Dorie Reents-Budet, Curator of the Art of the Ancient Americas collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, for a discussion of the origins of chocolate, its social and economic roles, and its myriad recipes among the Olmecs, the Maya and the Aztecs, spanning more than 2,500 years of culinary history and enjoyment.
Reents-Budet is also author of “Painting the Maya Universe: Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period” and co-author of “Lords of Creation: The Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship,” as well as Consulting Curator at The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC. She was featured on North Carolina Public Radio’s “The State of Things” this past May in a program titled “From Mayans to Mars Bars.”
Lecture tickets are $10 ($8 for Friends) per lecture. You may purchase tickets by calling 919.733.7450 x212.
For additional information, contact Elizabeth Iaquinta at 919.733.7450 x352.
This is the final lecture held in conjunction with the Museum’s current special exhibit, “Chocolate,” which runs through September 7, 2009. “Chocolate” explores the plant, the products and the culture of chocolate through the lenses of science and history.
The exhibit is open 6-7 p.m. the night of the lecture.
Tickets are $7 for Adults, $5 for Seniors (age 65+) and Students (with ID), $4 for Children (age 5-11).