One fact about chocolate that would be good for kids to know is that it is the product of a plant. Specifically, it is the product of a tree called theobroma cacao. Theobroma means "food of the gods."Continue Reading
Theobroma cacao is a strange tree because the cacao beans that eventually produce the chocolate grow all over it, even on its trunk. This tree only grows within 20 degrees north or south of the equator, so Belgian chocolate clearly does not come entirely from Belgium.
Besides growing all over the tree, the beans, which grow in pods, do not all ripen at the same time, and they are harvested by hand. This means they're lopped off the tree with a machete. Then, the ripe pods are split open; the beans and the pulp are then removed, put in baskets and left to ferment. If they didn't ferment, they would be too bitter for modern tastes. After that, they undergo a long, complex process to become cocoa and later chocolate.
Whether chocolate is milk, dark or bitter depends on how many ingredients it contains. Bitter chocolate, which is used in baking, is simply ground cocoa beans or chocolate liquor. Dark chocolate has chocolate liquor and other ingredients such as vanilla, cocoa butter and sugar. Milk chocolate has these ingredients along with condensed milk or milk solids.Learn more about Sweets