Cacao bean trees grow on tropical rain forest plantations in South America. The trees grow pods, (cacao pods) on them after about 2-3 years. Some trees produce pods year round. If left on the tree too long, the pods turn black. (bad). Each pod contains 20-70 beans (seeds). The cacao bean rest in a delicious cream-colored, acidic, aromatic pulp, which aids the fermentation process. This makes the process of making chocolate possible. When these pods are broken open you want to use only the white seeds and nothing else. Unfortunately most chocolate companies use all of the seeds, good and bad, to save money. But, what these companies don’t tell you is that the other seeds used are moldy. So essentially you are eating chocolate made with moldy cacao seeds.
When the husband and I decided to go on this venture, to learn more about chocolate, we visited Chocolate Maya. Maya Schoop-Rutten, owner and operator of Chocolate Maya, gave us a great overview of what “real” chocolate is. She was so informative and educated about all of the ins and outs of making “good’ chocolate. Quality chocolate, made from the best cacao nibs is what you want to ingest, not your everyday chocolate bar. Sorry folks.
So, next time you want to indulge in a piece of chocolate think twice. Unless you have purchased it from the best, Chocolate Maya.
15 West Gutierrez Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101