Chocolate is made from seeds found inside the pods of a cacao tree, and it is used in many desserts like puddings, cakes and ice cream. It can be in a solid form such as a bar, or it can be in a liquid form, such as hot chocolate.
Chocolate grows on the tropical tree Theobroma cacao, or simply, cacao. Theobroma is Greek for ‘food of the gods’. Cacao is native to Central and South America, but it is grown throughout the tropics, with nearly 70% of the world’s cacao grown in Africa.
A cacao tree can produce close to 2,000 pods per year. The cacao pod is shaped like a rugby ball, and grows straight out from the branches. Inside the pods is a sticky white pulp and about 30 or 40 seeds. These seeds are very bitter, so when you see chocolate that has a high cacao count, it will be more bitter.
After the beans are picked, they are allowed to ferment and dry, which can take several weeks. After they are dried, they are sent to the factory where they are made into chocolate.