Cacao fruit cut open

Title Info
Common name Cacao or chocolate
Scientific name Theobroma cacao
Taxonomic group Sterculiaceae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Economic botany Food plants
Food plants Other
Date 1985
Location Costa Rica,North America
Cacao fruit cut open, <i>Theobroma cacao</i>
Related materials: Cacao

Cacao fruit, cut open. Chocolate is made from the fruit of the cacao plant, a small understory tree originally from the New World tropics. Once the beans are harvested from the fruits, shown here, they are fermented by bacteria and yeast for several days, then dried, roasted, and ground into a think liquid called chocolate liquor. During this process, the white pulp that covers the beans is discarded. To make a chocolate bar, sugar, milk, and additional cocoa butter (fat extracted from the chocolate liquor) are then added. Chocolate contains the alkaloid theobromine, which is very similar to caffeine in structure.