I’m pretty sure everyone reading this article has had a taste of chocolate and if you haven’t I urge you to go get one right now! You may ask why? Well chocolates are super nice especially when you have low sugar count. If you want to know where all its deliciousness comes from or even how to prepare your very own homemade chocolate then I insist you read the full article.
Cocoa is one of the highly produced agricultural produce in the country. The cocoa bean can also be called cacao bean, so in case you wonder why people spell it differently. It takes a whopping 5 years for a cocoa tree to produce its first seed pod. The cocoa bean grows from the trunk of the cocoa tree. The cocoa tree can be dated back to about 600AD with the ancient tribes of the Maya Indians. Cocoa trees need to grow in hot and damp climates such as are found between the latitudes 20° North and 20° South of the Equator (reason why almost 70% of the worlds cocoa comes from West Africa), but even with the hot climate they need shade to avoid direct sunlight and in order to do this they are usually planted next to tall trees such as mango or papaya trees.
Each cocoa tree produces around 1,000 beans a year, but that is only enough to make just 1 kg of chocolate. Every stage of cocoa production is done by hand: planting, irrigating, harvesting, fermenting and drying. December 13th is National Cocoa Day also throughout the world the annual cocoa production is 3 million tons.
Cocoa offers a wide range of health benefits some include
- Improves nitric oxide level which in turn reduces high blood pressure.
- The polyphenols in cocoa helps improve blood flow to the brain and blood function.
- Its effect on the brain allows it improve one’s mood and battle depression also it exerts protective effects against neurotoxicity.
- Cocoa flavanols improves symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
- It also offers relief from constipation, bronchial asthma, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, and various neurodegenerative diseases.
- It is beneficial for quick wound healing, skin care and it helps to improve cardiovascular and brain health.
- It also helps in treating copper deficiency.
Now it’s time for the part almost everyone has been looking forward, the chocolate making process!!!
- First dry out the beans. This can be done mechanically or manually by putting them under the sun till they turn brownish-red.
- After that the beans are roasted, and they begin producing a rich, delicious chocolatey smell.
- The roasted cocoa beans then get chopped into little pieces called cocoa nibs.
- Heat and pressure are used to get all of the liquid out of the cocoa nibs. Two liquids come out of the cocoa nibs: cocoa liquor and cocoa butter. Both of these liquids go into making the chocolate we know and love.
- Cocoa liquor and cocoa butter are combined with sugar and milk powder, and finally we have, wonderful chocolate.
- This chocolate is poured into molds to give it its candy bar shape, and then a machine wraps all of the chocolate bars.
- Then leave to cool.
**But we must duly note that location, soil type, rain, temperature and sunlight determine the taste of a chocolate**
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