Do You Know How Chocolate Begins?
Chocolate begins life as a small flower on a tropical tree called Theobroma cacao. Researchers think the first cocoa trees originating in the Amazon basin of Brazil or in the Orinoco Valley of Venezuela. The Olmecs (1500-400 BC) are believed to be the first people to consume chocolate as a drink (chocolate candy didn’t happen until much later).
Baby Cacao Pods
Cacao trees grow about 30 feet tall and can live for about 25 years. It takes a cacao tree 3-5 years to produce their first cacao fruit pod which contains about 40 cocoa beans surrounded by a sweet tasting white pulp. Cacao trees produce approximately 30 pods a year, and each pod contains about 40 cocoa beans. It takes approximately 500 beans to make 1 pound of chocolate, so that means each tree produces about 2 pounds of chocolate a year. That means there are a lot of cacao trees planted all over the world and that’s why satiable growing practices are so important.
Thank goodness for chocolate lovers… Cacao Trees are now grown all over the world. In a narrow band called the Chocolate Belt, this band extends 20 degrees of latitude north and south of the equator.
Cacao trees are a tropical species that loves shaded rainforests and thriving in hot, rainy climates. They can also be grown indoors with special care.
Here a short video if you would like some tips to grow your own chocolate tree.
“Chocolate is what I love. I have it every day.” Jennifer Hudson