Chocolate, Chili and Cochineal: Changing Taste Around the World | Heard Museum

Chocolate, Chili and Cochineal: Changing Taste Around the World

Chocolate joins many other delectably displayed depictions of foods in the Heard’s presentation about several edibles many people might be surprised to know are from the Americas. Despite its availability as, for example, Belgian or Swiss confections, chocolate is actually from the New World, derived from cacao trees indigenous to Mexico, Central and South America. Recent research has found evidence of cacao in 12th century cylinder jars from New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon. A ceramic vessel for holding chocolate that dates to between 1000 and 1250 AD from Chaco Canyon is on loan to the Heard from the San Diego Museum of Man.

Also featured in the exhibit is the cochineal, a tiny insect indigenous to the Americas that when exported greatly affected other parts of the world.

Visitors will find depictions of many plants indigenous to the Americas. Among the foods explored in Chocolate, Chili and Cochineal are chili, tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, avocados, maple syrup, corn, beans and squash.

Sponsored by The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation and the Arizona Humanities Council.