ingredient information
Chocolate and cocoa are made from the bean of the cacao tree. (Theabroma cacao.) The Cacao tree lives in tropical areas within 20 degree of the equator. Some of the countries that Cacao trees are found; are the Caribbean, South America, Central America, Africa, and Hawaii. It is said the ancient Mayans used the beans. Long ago, the cacao bean was so valued it was used as currency. It has not always been served sweet, the bean itself is somewhat acidic. The Aztecs served it as a drink with peppers and other spices. When Columbus discovered cacao, he didn't care for the bitter drink, xocatl, too much. Cortes also found the chocolate beverage upon visiting Mexico. The beans are found in large red, yellow or orange pods. The beans are removed from the pod and lain on the ground to ferment. Later, they are dried under the sun and sorted. The beans are usually shipped to plants in Europe, and the U.S. to be roasted & shelled. Manufacturers of chocolate have their own individual blends of cacao beans. Each has their own secret refining process to produce their special brand. The inner portion is cracked into small pieces called nibs. These inner pieces, nibs, of the cacao are ground before the production of chocolate, as we know it, can begin. Pulverizing the nibs produces the cocoa butter and chocolate liquor.