Sweet Seduction, Chocolate Grows in Costa Rica
Today most of the cacao plantations are found in Africa. However, Costa Rica has a number of small cacao plantations. You can visit Sibu Chocolate factory, located in Sarapiqui, 15 minutes East of downtown San Jose. Here you will learn all about how chocolate is harvested and how it is processed. Best part is you can taste this chocolate. It’s delicious.
Chocolate has its origins in Mexico with the Olmecs and the Aztecs as well as the Mayans. It was considered the sacred food of the gods. Also it was used as a regional currency.
The indigenous people of this region consumed chocolate in it’s natural bitter tasting form, without sugar or other spices added. It gave them instant energy and a sense of well being. The first Spanish explorers to the New World took cacao beans back to Spain where it was transformed into the chocolate we know today which has a sweet flavor because of the sugar added to it.
A few facts about chocolate:
It is picked by hand from the cacao tree. The pods grow straight out of the branches and also out of the trunk. The pods are placed in wooden boxes and covered with banana leaves and left to ferment and afterwards placed in the sun to dry. Then, it is roasted, ground and pressed and shipped to the factories for processing.
The best commercial chocolate on today’s market is a mixture of the best cacao beans, sometimes up to 12 different varieties from all over the world.
Chocolate causes the brain to release chemicals called endorphins which makes you feel good.