You might only consider chocolate to be a concoction that is best used in hand dipped cherries or candy bars, but this delicious treat has been incorporated into more than just dessert for centuries. Here are some of the main ways that chocolate was used hundreds of years ago, as well as how it serves other purposes today.
Cacao for Fatigue
AllChocolate.com reports that cacao was not only used for delicious elixirs that were thought to provide additional energy, but in baths as well. The Aztecs were thought to have incorporated cacao flowers into their baths to provide a soothing aroma that rejuvenated their bodies.
The Badianus Codex, published in 1552, says that the flowers were thought to eliminate fatigue in government officials and other people who served the public. For this reason, it was typically reserved for the wealthy. Imagine swimming in a bath today full of chocolate truffles!
Chocolate as Medicine
The Aztecs weren't the only ones who thought that chocolate had the power to heal - Groupon reports that the Europeans strongly believed that the sugary concoction could do wonders as well. In the 1600s, English merchants were known to prescribe chocolate as a cure for everything from stomachaches to colds and infections.
Cacao as Money
The Mayans were another culture that valued chocolate and cacao so much that they used it as a form of currency. There are records of the society using beans as a primary form of payment, and the Aztecs used cacao beans similarly - they were thought to have used them as levy taxes.
Enhancing the Flavor of Cheese
Pairing foods together to enhance flavor has long been a custom in the culinary world, and chocolate and cheese are no different. Ecosalon.com reports that although it may seem strange, more manufacturers are creating chocolate and cheese snacks to heighten the flavor of these dairy products. Tesco, the British supermarket chain, has been selling "chocolate whirls" since 2007 - with success.
Unusual Uses for Chocolate Today
Many people prefer eating chocolate to using it in unusual ways in their everyday lives, but its properties allow it to serve more than one purpose (if you're daring enough). MarthaStewart.com reports that some additional uses for chocolate include lip balm, facials and scented candles.
Of course, there are always a few unique ways you can incorporate this delicious treat into dishes other than dessert - cover your bacon in it, add it to mole or create a chocolate gravy for biscuits!