Chocolate, in the form of a hot chocolate beverage, was widely available to men and women of all ethnic and social groups in late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth-century Santiago de Guatemala, the capital city of colonial Central America. At the same time, chocolate acted as a central vehicle of women's ritual power, used as the basis for magical potions to cast supernatural illness, in sexual witchcraft practices, and even, at times, as a flash point for women's disorderly behavior in public settings. The gendered associations of chocolate with ritual power and disorder in Guatemala are considered within the broader context of the changing cultural uses and meanings of New World food products during European expansion in the Americas.

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