Rich, dark brown, and extremely delicious; you know what we are talking about right here. Of course, it is chocolate, otherwise known as the food of the gods. Be it the exotic taste and the amazing health benefits, there are so many things that we love about chocolate. Creating new recipes with this ingredient makes the best dishes for sure. However, you would be surprised to know that this gods food was actually consumed as a bitter beverage and not some sweet and delightful item. So, there is no doubt about the fact that this semi-solid ingredient has gone through different changes over time.
Pieces of a Chocolate Bar
Did you know that chocolate actually comes from a tree? Yes, it is the fruit of the Cacao tree which is called Theobroma Cacao. This particular tree is found on small farms situated in some remote and tropical locations in South East Asia, Central America, West Africa, and South America.
These fruit trees tend to flourish in hot and rainy climates about 20 degrees south and north of the equator. Since the conditions for the cacao tree to grow have to be just perfect, the farming of this fruit is a very difficult job for sure. It is important to ensure that proper care and attention are given while growing the tree.
In fact, cacao farming is done by well-trained and competent farmers who have enough knowledge about the farming of the tree in the first place. The fruit that comes from the cacao tree is shaped like a football and has different colors. You will find that each pod contains some white pulp and this encloses about 50-60 pods of cacao seeds. So, if you are wondering what is chocolate made from, these seeds are your answer.
Once the cacao pods are properly ripe, they would be harvested using a special technique which is traditional and has been going on for a very long time. Farmers pick the fruit with their hands. Since the trucks as well as the branches of the tree tend to be pretty soft, one cannot climb the tree. So, there are long-handled instruments that people tend to use in order to properly pluck the fruits from the tree without damaging the branches.
Once the pods have been collected properly, they split them open and then scoop out the white pulp so that the seeds can be separated. These seeds are known as cacao beans. The beans would be covered up with the leaves of the banana tree and left to ferment in the pulp. After the fermentation process is complete, they uncover the beans and let them dry under the heat of the sun.
This process of fermentation and drying the beans is what gives chocolate its unique and delicious flavor. After the drying is complete, the beans are transferred and packed to ship all over the world. The chocolate factories then receive the beans and create the amazing chocolaty food that we have at our homes. Doesn’t that sound absolutely interesting? Let’s talk a bit about the history of chocolate now.
When it comes to the history of this delicious treat, the traces can be found way back into the Mesoamerica civilization. The people belonging that time were the first to cultivate and use cacao plants in the different tropical rainforests of Central America. In fact, there is some evidence of chocolate being produced and used by the pre-Olmec cultures in Mexico. The procedure would include the fermentation of the cacao beans, roasting them up, and then grounding them to form a paste.
This paste would then be mixed with vanilla, water, chili pepper, honey, and some other amazing spices to create the ultimate frothy and mount-watering chocolate drink. Theobroma Cacao is basically a Latin name that was given to the tree by Carolus Linnaeus. He is the father of the modern taxonomic plant classification system.
This word actually comes from Greek which means ‘Food of the Gods’. However, in the modern day, there are many variations that are included in the rich texture of food chocolate. These days, it is very hard to find the authentic, rich, and original flavor of chocolate with a hint of bitterness as everything has been sweetened to fit the taste of people. In fact, people these days are over-consuming sweetened chocolate which is one of the main reasons for obesity in children and other serious problems as well.
This is a very common question that people often tend to ask. Yes, chocolate recipes such as cakes, cookies, etc. have led to people gaining a lot of weight and suffering from health issues. But the actual, original, dark chocolate is pretty good for your health. Dark chocolate consists of different compounds that offer an amazing range of benefits and you can absolutely enjoy it without feeling any kind of guilt for sure.
Even if you tend to consume dark chocolate daily, it will not do you harm. However, you do need to take care of the size portions of the chocolate. Too many bites and you will end up accumulating extra fat, calories, and sugar. Now that is something you surely don’t want right?
Dark chocolates contain cocoa solids that have compounds known as flavonols. These flavonols actually help in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Not just that but these flavonols can actually help in improving cognition and lowering any risk of diabetes. Dark chocolate actually has the highest amount of flavonols when compared to white or milk chocolates. You might have to get adjusted to the bitter taste of dark chocolate but in the end it is all worth it. These beneficial compounds will actually help in the improvement of your health. So, what do you think about the god of chocolate food? Do you like foods made of chocolate? Let us know.