This wonderfully edible substance, chocolate, is a product of the cacao bean which is found on cacao trees. About 70% of the world’s cacao beans are from Africa. There are various types of cacao beans, which results in different flavors of chocolate. Blending of cacao beans also takes place to create new flavors.
Chocolate comes from a tree called the Theobroma cacao, which is native to Central and South America, though it is grown today for commercial reasons throughout the tropics. Each tree produces up to 2,000 pods each year, with each pod containing 30-40 seeds and a sticky, white pulp. These pods are harvested, fermented, and then dried for a week in the sun. From there, they are sent to a factory, where the beans are sorted, roasted, and ground into a bitter paste. Then, milk, vanilla, sugar, and cocoa butter are added to produce the familiar, sweet, chocolate taste. Finally, the mixture is aerated to produce the correct texture, and made into bars (or other shapes!).
Chocolate comes from the wonderful cacao plant, native to Central America. However, most of the chocolate currently consumed in the US is produced in West Africa, which has a consistently hot equatorial climate suitable for growing cacao.
Chocolate began its spread throughout the world when Cortez brought some of the rich, dark treat back to Europe after his conquest of South America in 1528 🙁
Several of the largest chocolate makers in the world are in the US, including Hershey and Nestle. However, there are many types of chocolate that are fair trade, organic, and give money to preserve the rainforest, so I would suggest buying these styles instead of the other major name brands.
chocolate comes from a tropical tree the Theobrama cacao usually called simply cacao
COCO BEANS FROM THE JUNGLE
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