What is Chocolate?

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Did you know chocolate grows on trees?

The cocoa “beans” that form the basis of chocolate are actually seeds from the fruit of the cacao tree, which primarily grows in tropical areas near the Equator. The seeds grow inside a pod-like fruit and are covered with a juicy white pulp.

How is it made?

To make chocolate, cocoa farmers crack open the pods, scoop out the seeds, ferment them and dry them.

The beans are shipped to factories all over the world, where manufacturers inspect and clean them, then roast and grind them into a dense liquid called chocolate liquor. More pressing, rolling, mixing with sugar and other ingredients, and heating and cooling finally yields this delicious treat.

Pieces of chocolateGet a taste of this section:

  • Ingredients: What’s in chocolate, anyway?
  • Kinds: How do milk and dark differ—and is chocolate liquor a drink?
  • Health and Chocolate: If it comes from fruit, does that mean it’s healthy?