Splitting a Cacao Pod
While cacao exportation to Europe began as early as 1585, the first chocolate bar was not made until 1848.
A few interesting chemical facts about cacao:
(i) Cacao beans contain the caffeine-like purine alkaloid, theobromine, a mild stimulant that naturally imparts that distinct bitter cocoa flavor.
(ii) Roasting ground cacao seeds yields chocolate. Chocolate is said to contain the phenylethylamine, a natural amphetamine found in the human brain, which induces a feeling of euphoria.
(iii) Cacao's fatty oil, when clarified, gives rise to a pure white compound, almost as hard as beewax, and is used in many pharmaceutical preparations.
At the Spice Tour in Zanzibar, Tanzania