Chocolate is made from seeds of the cacao tree, native to equatorial
regions of the Americas.
Cacao grows only between the 22° parallel latitudes north and
south of the equator, from 30 to 300 meters above sea level, and in
temperatures ranging from 20 to 35°C. It requires abundant,
well-distributed rain without damaging downpours, high humidity and
deep fertile soil.
At five years of age, cacao trees start producing elongated, tapering
red-yellow fruit about 18cm long and 8cm wide. A ribbed shell surrounds
the pulp which envelopes from 30 to 50 little oval seeds arranged in
tightly packed overlapping rows.
Harvesting takes place twice a year, near the solstices, when the dry
and rainy seasons begin.
The size, shape and type of chocolate we choose can tell us a lot about
ourselves. Whether it is dark chocolate or milk chocolate ... the
choice reveals characteristics about your personality and how you deal
This was demonstrated in a study by Murray Langham, a New Zealand
psychotherapist and author of the book "Chocolate Therapy: Dare To
Discover Your Inner Self."
Langham's study seeks to explain the correlation between our choices in
chocolate, even how we dispose of the wrapper, and our
The word chocolate comes from chocolatl-cacautl
which in the language of Mexcian and Central American Indians means
money, for these people used cacao beans as coins, a practice continued
into the early 1900s... Thus, when Europeans first saw this plant in
the 1500, they called it 'money tree.'
Cacautl was also the name ot the "bitter water," the hot, dark, dense
beverage that by 600 BC both the Mayas ad Aztec Indians were making
from their "coins." For them, the tree was of divine origin,
from paradise, and the drink it produced was sacred.