From a farmer’s field to your dinner plate many of our fresh foods make startling transformations. And not just in a Clark Kent, take-off-the-glasses-and-Superman-appears-kind of way. Take chocolate, for example. If you’re a fan of this sweet (or in some cases, semi-sweet) treat, you can give thanks to the Theobroma Cocoa tree usually found in South and Central America, Southeast Asia and West Africa-all areas within 20 degrees of the equator. The literal translation of the Greek Theobroma Cocoa name? Food of the Gods.
Your favorite chocolate treat’s key ingredient, the cocoa bean, comes from football-sized pods that hang off the trunk and branches of the cocoa tree that have to be manually harvested, usually twice yearly. From there a lengthy six-step processing procedure begins, including the fermentation of the beans that allows their true chocolate flavor to come through.
If you’ve noticed the price of your go-to candy bar has risen over the past few years, blame climate change. The cocoa tree is sensitive to shifts in the weather, which in turn affects harvesting and manufacturing. In that timespan, cocoa prices have jumped nearly 40 percent. Your taste buds still love chocolate, but at this rate your wallet is going to wish you had a cheaper way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Story by Jay Moon