This tale of one of the world's favourite foods draws upon botany, archaeology, socio-economics and culinary history to present a complete history of chocolate. The story begins some 3000 years ago in the jungles of Mexico and Central America with the tree "Theobroma cacao" and the complex processes necessary to transform its bitter seeds into chocolate. This was centuries before chocolate was consumed, traded and used as currency by the sophisticated Maya, and the Aztecs after them. The Spanish conquest of Central America introduced chocolate to Europe, where it became the first stimulating drink of kings and aristocrats and then was democratized in coffee houses. Industrialization in the 19th and 20th centuries made chocolate a food for the masses - until its revival in our own time as a luxury item.