Nutrition

Where does chocolate come from?

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Wouldn't it be cool if there was a chocolate plant which grew this yummy treat? Well guess what, there is!

Chocolate starts out growing inside a pod on the cacao tree. Cacao trees grow in many different places, most of which are warm places like Africa, South America, and some parts of Asia. Inside each pod on the cacao tree are anywhere from 30-50 bitter seeds, which wouldn't taste very good if you ate them! To turn them into something tastier, the seeds are fermented (allowed to heat naturally), dried (usually in the sun), and then sent to a factory for cleaning, roasting, cracking, and crushing! This process eventually leaves behind a paste known as chocolate liquor, which can then be turned into chocolate bars by mixing it with ingredients such as sugar, vanilla, and milk! - YUM!

Exploration

Chocoholics!

Here are some really neat facts about chocolate you might not already know!

Have you ever eaten a chocolate egg? According to Guinness World Records, the largest chocolate sculpture ever made was a chocolate egg that was over 27 feet tall!!

Twelve cacao seeds are needed to make 1 ounce of dark chocolate. (How many ounces are in the average candy bar? Have a grown-up help you figure out how many seeds were used to make it!) Altogether, Americans consume about 3 billion pounds of chocolate every year! WHOA!

Further Information

Instead of being mixed with sugar and milk to make candy bars, some chocolate liquor is also pressed with a special machine. This separates it into cocoa (like the dry powder you might use to make hot chocolate) and cocoa butter, an ingredient added to chocolate we eat as well as used in some cosmetic products!In spite of its name, chocolate liquor contains no alcohol.

Sources

Manufacturing Chocolate from Seed to Sweet. All About Chocolate: Just for Kids. The Field Museum.Where does chocolate come from? Facts-About-Chocolate.com.