Blog Post

Chocolate Grows on Trees!

Of course, you know that chocolate is magical because you love to eat it — it tastes great, feels great, it even makes you feel great! But there are so many other things that make chocolate magical, from how it grows to how it’s made, to what it does to us when we eat it.

So let me start here: chocolate grows on trees, and technically it’s a vegetable. (Some botanists might argue that it’s really a fruit — something about the way it’s pollinated — but if we go by how we eat it, we eat the seeds the same way we eat peas and beans. Really, with fruits like apples and oranges, we eat the pulp and not the seeds.)

The name of the chocolate tree is Theobroma Cacao — cacao is where the word cocoa comes from, and where the name Kakao comes from and is based on the ancient word for chocolate. Theobroma is Greek for “food of the gods.” It all makes sense, right?

Cacao only grows about 15 degrees north and south of the equator, because it needs a really warm environment (for you gardeners out there, it’s Zone 11). So that’s Central and South America (where it originated), Africa (where most cacao is grown now) and a bit in Southeast Asia.

And it all starts here, with this tiny white flower about the size of the tip of your finger. And it grows out of the bark on the trunk, not the branches.

How magical is that?