Where chocolate begins - cacao pods

P8305369 Where chocolate begins

No, it is not a misspelling -- cacao is what it is until it is processed and becomes cocoa. These are the pods on a cacao tree -- the odd things seem to pop out just anywhere! They are picked and cut open to reveal layers of big seeds in soft tissue which is removed by fermentation, the seeds are washed, then dried, and then sold to exporters to ship to chocolate factories around the world. But it all starts here in the tropics, with these scrubby little rain forest trees from South America and their "grow-anywhere" pods. You can get your own close-up look at cacao and coconuts on a plantation or village visit with Kokopo Tours. Our thanks to the Mayans for unlocking the secret of chocolate.

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