Scientific Name: Theobroma cacao

Plant Family: Sterculiaceae

Other Names: ch'ol, kakaw

Cacao was one of the ancient Maya's most important beverages. Though likely consumed by all social classes, it was prepared especially for the ceremonies and festivities of the nobility. Cacao could also be consumed as a solid food. Because of its sacred importance and frequent use, cacao was likely an important trade item.
Today, chocolate, as a beverage, is still frequently prepared in the Maya region. The sweetened solid form of cacao, chocolate, is likely its most popular use world wide. Chocolate is prepared by drying the cacao seeds, grinding them, and adding sugar to the prepared powder.