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    All about Chocolate

    Although money doesn't grow on trees, the bean from the cacoa that chocolate comes from does grow on trees. The tropical tree is found in the countries of Central, South America, some other tropical countries and Africa. Facts show that the tree can produce close to 2,000 pods every year. It is a ridged pod, or called even a fruit, and can be found on the branches and even coming out of the trunk of the tree. The actual pod has an encasement of a sticky white pulp and around 30 seeds. The pulp itself has a flavor both sweet and yet sour. People use that to make some drinks and in some countries it is eaten. Now it is the seeds that are used for making the chocolate. But they are quite horribly bitter if you bite into them.

    So most would be curious as to how and why did people decide to turn these into something so wonderful as chocolate? To begin with, the pods themselves are taken off the tree about twice a year. The tree is not sturdy, so the workers use machetes or long poles with a knife like machete at one end. They open the pods, but have to take great care in not damaging the beans (seeds) inside.

    The beans are sticky then, and put inside bins made of wood or an earthy type pit and covered up with leaves from banana trees. The workers leave them to ferment, the heat makes the flavor change from too tart or sour to sugary chocolate flavor. The color even changes to a dark brown. The pulp kind of goes away in the process. Some beans take a week or so to ferment, while the better beans take only a couple of days or so. This is the most important part of the process.

    Next, beans are taken out and dried in the sun usually for a week. The sweet flavor gets better developed. Once they are thoroughly dried, the beans are shipped to factories for making our delicious chocolate candy!

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