It seems that the true origin of processed chocolate , which dates back some three thousand years ago , is to be attributed to the Olmecs wooded lowlands to the south of Mexico . From this beginning , so far , the skein historical unfolds going through the courts of the rulers of the Mayan cities of the classical period and came to the Aztec civilization , the period in which the chocolate acquired great importance both as a drink , a symbol of human blood in religious rituals , both as currency and commodity trading . After the catastrophic destruction of the Aztec capital , the consumption of chocolate and creolised was transformed by the Spanish conquistadors . The new discovery is introduced in Europe where it is considered a medicine to be taken according to the ancient Hippocratic - Galenic theory of the time. Recipes precious and daring experiments were jealously guarded in the courts before the Spanish , then French, Neapolitan and Florentine .