Chocolate 101

What are cocoa trees?

  • A native of Central and South America, cocoa trees are quite small in height, ranging from 12 – 15 meters. These trees bear pods within  2-3 years. Cocoa pods can range from 100 mm to 350 mm in length and its seeds (cocoa beans) are used to make chocolate.

How many beans are in a cocoa pod?

  • There are roughly 30-45 beans in one cocoa pod.

Where were the first cocoa plantations established?

  • The Mayans were known to have established the first cocoa plantations around 600 AD, in south Yucatan.

When was the first milk chocolate made and by whom?

  • In 1875 Daniel Peter was the first to make milk chocolate in Switzerland.

Which country is the largest producer of cocoa?

  • Ivory Coast, located in West Africa, produces approximately 40 percent of the world’s cocoa.  Ghana is the world’s second largest producer.

When was cocoa first introduced to Ghana?

  • Cocoa was first introduced in 1876 by Tetteh Quarshie, a Ghanaian agriculturalist. Today, the cocoa crop is a major export for the Ghanaian economy.

When was the first white chocolate made?

  • Made from only milk powder, sugar, and cocoa butter, white chocolate was first produced in 1930.

What are the three major cocoa growing regions in the world?

  • West Africa, South East Asia, and South America.

Information sourced from: “The Science of Chocolate” by Stephen T Beckett.  If you are interested in learning more about chocolate, we highly recommend this book!