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Chocolate was first used as a drink over 3,500 years ago in Central America. It was very popular with the Mayans and the Aztecs, who mixed cocoa beans with vanilla or chilli peppers. In fact, cocoa beans were so important to them that they were used as money. Cocoa was first grown in Ecuador, which was, for a long time, the world’s number-one producer of cocoa beans. It is still one of the top ten producers of the beans, but nowadays more than 70 per cent of cocoa beans come from West Africa.