Chocolate.
There are few foods that people feel as passionate about -- a passion that goes beyond a love for the "sweetness" of most candies or desserts: after all, few people crave caramel, whipped cream, or bubble gum. Chocolate is, well, different. For the true chocoholic, just thinking about chocolate can evoke a pleasurable response. You may want to grab a bar or make a nice cup of hot cocoa before you begin exploring here.

Candy bars, milk shakes, cookies, flavored coffee—even cereal and medicine! Chocolate is a key ingredient in many foods. In fact, it ranks as the favorite flavor of most Americans. And yet, few of us know the unique origins of this popular treat.
The story of chocolate spans more than 2,000 years and now circles the globe. The tale began in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America where cacao (kah KOW) first grew. Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree.
But the journey from seed to sweet is a long one, spanning many centuries and requiring many processes.

History of Chocolate
The tasty secret of the cacao (kah KOW) tree was discovered 2,000 years ago in the tropical rainforests of the Americas. The pods of this tree contain seeds that can be processed into chocolate. The story of how chocolate grew from a local Mesoamerican beverage into a global sweet encompasses many cultures and continents.

The first people known to have made chocolate were the ancient cultures of Mexico and Central America. These people, including the Maya and Aztec, mixed ground cacao seeds with various seasonings to make a spicy, frothy drink.

Later, the Spanish conquistadors brought the seeds back home to Spain, where new recipes were created. Eventually, and the drink’s popularity spread throughout Europe. Since then, new technologies and innovations have changed the texture and taste of chocolate, but it still remains one of the world’s favorite flavors.

How Chocolate is Made
Harvesting Cacao is Hard Work
We tend to think of chocolate making as an assembly-line process. Most people picture automated presses plopping out candies onto conveyor belts at speeds unmatched by humans.

But before cacao reaches the machinery of a chocolate factory, it must first pass through the hands of a farmer.

Making chocolate takes years of manual labor.
Like most agricultural crops, cacao must be closely monitored by farmers. They regularly walk their fields and check for pests, molds, and diseases that can potentially wipe out a whole harvest.

In addition, a farmer must spend three to five years caring for young cacao trees before they’ll produce their first yield.

Cacao harvesting is done by hand.
Unlike many contemporary crops, cacao can’t be harvested by machines. Each thick pod growing off the trunk and branches of the cacao tree must be plucked by hand.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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