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'Power of Chocolate' Honors The Cacao Bean

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The National Museum of the American Indian's 'Power of Chocolate' festival celebrates a time before heart-shaped boxes came into fashion.
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The National Museum of the American Indian's 'Power of Chocolate' festival celebrates a time before heart-shaped boxes came into fashion.

Long before heart-shaped boxes came into fashion, chocolate was very popular. Maya and Aztec cultures discovered the cacao bean 3,000 years ago and it's been a hit ever since.

As a tribute to the bean's history, and ahead of Valentine's Day, the National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a festival this weekend called 'The Power of Chocolate.'

"Back in history, what Native Americans did, was it was actually used as a drink," says Richard Hetzler, executive chef at the museum's café. "It was an unsweetened chocolate drink that people today would try and say, yeah there's no way I'm gonna have that."

This drink, he says was nothing like the hot chocolate we know now, and was definitely more expensive.

"Poor people didn't even know what the taste of chocolate was," says Hetzler.

The cacao bean were so delicious, they were traded as currency. So, to drink chocolate, people had to be able to afford to literally drink their money.

The festival will also feature cooking demonstrations, ritual chocolate dances, and of course, free samples.

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