The competition: Theme
The theme for the fourth edition of the World Chocolate Masters is "Cacao, the gift of Quetzalcoatl"
During the final each contestant will need to produce six innovative and delicious creations solely made of chocolate that reflect this year’s chosen theme, “Cacao, the gift of Quetzalcoatl”.
The Aztecs believed that cacao beans were a gift from the gods.
Quetzalcoatl was the most important god of the Aztecs, and the
legend is that it was his task to bring cacao to the Aztec people.
Who or what was Quetzalcoatl ? A Mesoamerican god? An Aztec prince? A meteorite?
All of those things and more, as it turns out. The “snake with quetzal feathers”, or Quetzalcoatl in the Nahuatl language of Central Mexico, was one of the principal deities of pre-Colombian Mesoamerica. It was a title given to priests and a name taken by Aztec princes.
What has that got to do with chocolate? Well, as any chocolate buff knows, the Mayans and the Aztecs were the first to cultivate cocoa beans, making a drink that they called “xocoatl”. According to their mythology, the cocoa bean was a gift to mankind from the god Quetzalcoatl.
In 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortés invaded Mexico and discovered the invigorating properties of chocolate. He claimed that he succeeded in conquering the Aztecs because they mistook him for the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl. Whether that was really the case is disputed by historians, but Cortes was soon making a lucrative trade exporting cocoa beans to Europe.
And as the theme of this year's World Chocolate Masters is "Cocoa, Quetzalcoatl's gift", we can expect to hear plenty more about Quetzalcoatl in the months to come.
How will the colourful feathers of Quetzalcoatl inspire the chocolate masterpieces of our finalists?