Chocolate's reputation as an aphrodisiac started when the drink was discovered in Montezuma's palace by Cortes and the Spanish Conquistadores in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan in 1519. Montezuma's habit of drinking frothy chocolate from golden goblets, about 40 at a feast, then visiting his harem was documented by the Spanish. Thoughtful theorists, such as Michael & Sophie Coe (leading academics and authors of THE TRUE HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE) believe the connection between chocolate and sex related to nourishment and stamina rather than a chemical reaction specifically affecting arousal and performance. Indeed, chocolate's ability to nourish the Mesoamericans predates the Aztec Empire and developed fully with the Maya culture, whose warriors and tradesmen were able to sustain long journeys because of their reliance on the nutrients of cacao. Like an avocado or walnut, the cacao bean is densely loaded with complex chemicals (see Chocolate and Health).
Another theory advanced by Dominique Arayal in her French book on chocolate suggests the early Spanish settlers associated chocolate with the mysteries of the Mesoamerican people - their polytheism, their culture of blood-letting and religious sacrifices - and thus as it travleled the "civilized" world of Western Europe in the 1600's, it became a symbol of dark mysteries and strange spiritual powers. Chocolate was perscribed by European doctors throughout the 1600-1800's to cure a variety of ills including gout, warm humours and cold humours. In an age long before food scientists and nutrionists anaylzed the components of food, much of what was healthy and nutrious was guesswork. Chocolate's power as a substantial and unusal food was rarely in dispute; but the nature and properties of its power have always been in dispute.
Where there is power, there is sex. Prominent ladies of powerful courts (particularily French noblewoman Madame de Sevigny) believed in chocolate's connection to their sexual practices. In comments mostly associated with chocolate's influence on vigor and strength (as opposed to desire and eroticism), the letters of these ladies helped popularize chocolate drinking in high society.
Fine artists took note of the intimacy involved in chocolate's service to aristocratic ladies in bed by ladies in waiting. In many popular paintings of the 1700's, chocolate's connection to sensuality was further solidified.
When chocolate became a food for mass consumption in the late 1800's and early 1900's, it met the powerful force of a nascent business: advertising. Chocolate's association with women and aristocrats made it an easy product to glamourize.
The connection between chocolate, sex, sin and advertising has never been more pronounced than it is today's market. Further, scientists now tell us that chocolate's silky "mouthfeel" is one of the key attributes in its psychological appeal. So, there is but one question on the table: