Did you know that Guatemala is the birthplace for chocolate? If not, read on.
Cocoa bean (also cacao bean, often simply cocoa and cacao; Mayan: kakaw; Nahuatl: cacaua) is the dried and fully fermented fatty seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids and cocoa butter are extracted. They are the basis of chocolate, as well as many Mesoamerican foods such as mole sauce and tejate.
A cocoa pod (fruit) has a rough leathery rind about 3 cm thick (this varies with the origin and variety of pod). It is filled with sweet, mucilaginous pulp (called ‘baba de cacao’ in South America) enclosing 30 to 50 large seeds that are fairly soft and white to pale lavender in color. While seeds are usually white, they become violet or reddish brown during the drying process.
The cocoa bean was a common currency throughout Mesoamerica before the Spanish conquest.
The cacao plant was first given its botanical name by Swedish natural scientist Carl Linnaeus in his original classification of the plant kingdom, who called it Theobroma (“food of the gods”) cacao. (Source: Wikipedia)