The treat so loved worldwide has very humble beginnings. The cacao bean begins life inside a fruit, called a pod, on a tree in the tropics, primarily in remote areas of West Africa, Southeast Asia and Central and South America. These delicate, flower-covered trees need much tending and, when farmed using sustainable methods, grow in harmony in tropical forests beneath other cash crops such as bananas, rubber or hardwood trees. Grown on small family farms, the beans leave cocoa farms by hand, in carts, on donkeys or rugged trucks to be sold to a local buyer and then to processors abroad. Once in the factory, they are ground, pressed, heated and stirred to create luxurious chocolate.
Get a taste of this section:
- The Cacao Tree: What does the tree look like?
- The Tropics: Where are the biggest cacao-growing regions?
- The Factory: By what mysterious processes are the beans transformed into chocolate? How is chocolate made?