Monday, March 30, 2009

Cacao :: Food of the Gods

A visit to someone's home was so very rewarding. She was showing her many fruit plants and pointed to the cacao tree. I was thrilled. Loving chocolate and raw cacao this was very special to me.

Cacao pods grow randomly out of the tree trunk. Out of little clusters of flowers they become the fruit or pod. Each pod may contain 20-60 beans.

The scientific name Theobroma means "food of the gods". At one point the Aztec empire used cacao beans as currency. The buying power of quality beans was such that 80-100 beans could buy a new cloth mantle.

Cacao is very high in minerals. The shell of the pod is strong, protecting this special food, needing a good knife to open it. Each bean is covered with a white pulp. To make chocolate this pulp is dried off and the bean is exposed and goes through processes.

I was given three cacao pods, yes I was definitely very happy. The fruit is not sweet. The texture and the gentle bitternes of the nibs are exotically wonderful. I am so grateful to have this experience of eating "food of the gods".


jademondin said...

hm, cacao. lucky you!

VeggieGirl said...

Ooooh, so luscious!!

Ingrid said...

Hi Jessica, thanks for this info, I've never been up close to a cacao tree, how lucky you were to experience cacao in all its natural essence.

earthmother said...

That's wild how they just grow right off the trunk of the tree.

With the present state of our world economy, I'm all for using cacao beans as currency!

Nathalie Lussier said...

Wow it was great to see your photos!

How did it taste so fresh off the tree? I always wonder about how packaging might be changing the taste, you know. ;)

Lori said...

Wow! I love these photos. I've never had the opportunity to see raw cacao before. Very interesting!

Aimee (bitt) said...

cool that you got to see where your food comes from. i love that.

Miss Jamie said...

I love cocao! I think its kindof addictive though, but does anyone find it a good way to knock any other addictions? I found I can replace caffine with cocoa.
I just started 50 days raw and would love any tips,