Cacao

Think you know everything about cocoa? We challenge you. Read this “cocoa alphabet” and discover curiosities, stories and anecdotes. 

There is a word for each letter of the alphabet that can refer to cocoa. We have compiled a series of words that are in some way connected to the world of cocoa, which refer to its characteristics, properties, but also to stories, anecdotes and curiosities about it.

A of antioxidant

Antioxidant. As is known, cocoa has a high antioxidant power, so much so that it is considered a superfood. In fact, thanks to its qualities it is good for health, it helps protect us from cellular aging, cancer, but also diseases such as Alzheimer’s. 

B like butter

Butter. Cocoa butter is the fattest part of the seed and forms the white outer edge of the inside of a single cocoa bean. Used as a cosmetic ingredient, it is famous for being widely used in lip balms. 

C like cocoa

It is the term used to refer to the plant but also to its powder form.

D like dependency

Yes, cocoa can be addictive. A physiological dependence due to the alkaloids it contains and which give the bitter base to the flavor of the beans. In particular: the theobromine, euphoric, and, to a lesser extent, caffeine, exciting.

E like Equator

Cocoa grows at the equator: almost all cocoa trees, in fact, grow within 20 degrees from the equator, and 75% of them, within 8 degrees.

F like fermentation

The fermentation of cocoa beans is the procedure that takes place before drying and varies according to the type of cocoa that you want to obtain.

G like drops

The drops we are referring to are small pieces of very bitter, fermented and dried cocoa beans that are eaten raw or toasted. They are the so-called “chocolate chips of nature”.

H like Harmattan

The Harmattan is the twenty geese that blows from the Sahara to West Africa, where the two largest cocoa producers in the world are located: Ivory Coast and Ghana. When it blows too hard between December and March, it can ruin the small cocoa pods, compromising yields. 

I like Indonesia

What does Indonesia have to do with cocoa? Well, Indonesia is the third largest cocoa producer in the world. 

L like lustres

Cocoa trees live up to 200 years, but only 25 produce quality pods.

M as monocultures

Cocoa plants nowadays are monocultures in deforested fields, but the method of growing in the shade – banana, poplar, cedar or other local plants – still remains the best.

N as not processed

Cocoa is the purest form: it is raw that is unprocessed, unlike cocoa powder and chocolate.

O as oil

Refined cocoa oil has a high content of oleic acid and is excellent for nourishing dry, parched skin.

P as “piquant”

The Aztecs used to mix chilli and other spices with the call “xocoatl”. The word “chocolate” seems to derive from this term.

Q as Quetzalkoat

Quetzalcoatl was the ‘Feathered Serpent’ god of the Aztecs. According to the myth, it was he who gave cocoa to the Maya after humans were created from corn.

R come Ruler

Historical records report that the ninth emperor of the Aztecs, Montezuma II, was called the King of Chocolate because he had a reserve of nearly one billion cocoa beans.

S like sacrifice

It seems that at the time of the Aztecs, it was normal to mix a few drops of blood of sacrificial victims with the cocoa-based drink. 

T as Theobroma

This is the botanical name of the cocoa tree. Its etymology derives from the Greek ‘theos’ – gods – and ‘broma’ – food: the food of the gods. 

U come use

Cocoa is not only used in the confectionery industry, in haute patisserie and in chocolate shops. Also widely used in cosmetics for the production of hair masks, conditioners, creams and more. 

V as a variety

There are three main varieties: criollo, very precious, fragrant and delicate; Forastero, the most common and most bitter; and Trinitario, a hybrid of the first two, with a slightly fruity aroma.

Z as Zumarraga

For most of its history, cocoa was just a very bitter-tasting drink. Only in 1590 AD, five years after the first shipment of cocoa landed in Europe, did Bishop Francisco Juan de Zumàrraga add sugar to the recipe of the drink, changing its history forever.

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