The Unique Quality and Rich History of Madagascar Cocoa

The Unique Quality and Rich History of Madagascar Cocoa

Very aromatic and destined for the production of high quality chocolate, the cocoa of Madagascar is unique. Our company and our partners deliver it, whether you are! The cacao tree is native to the Americas. It originated in Central America and parts of Mexico. More than 5,000 years ago, it was consumed by pre-Columbian cultures along the Yucatán, including the Mayans, and as far back as Olmeca civilization in spiritual ceremonies. It also grows in the foothills of the Andes in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America, in Colombia and in Venezuela. Wild cacao still grows there. Its range may have been larger in the past; The cultivation of the tree in these areas, long before the Spanish arrived, may have obscured evidence of its wild range. A new chemical analysis of residue extracted from pottery excavated at an archaeological site at Puerto Escondido, in Honduras, indicates that cocoa products were first consumed there sometime between 1500 and 1400 BC. Evidence also indicates that, long before the flavor of the cacao seed (or bean) became popular, the sweet pulp of the chocolate fruit, used in making a fermented (5% alcohol) beverage, first drew attention to the plant in the Americas.[9] The cocoa bean was a common currency throughout Mesoamerica before the Spanish conquest.[10]

Cacao trees grow in a limited geographical zone of about 20° to the north and south of the Equator. West Africa grows nearly 70% of the world’s cocoa crop today. The cacao plant was first given its botanical name by Swedish natural scientist Carl Linnaeus in his original classification of the plant kingdom, where he called it Theobroma (“food of the gods”) cacao.

Cocoa was an important commodity in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. A Spanish soldier who was part of the conquest of Mexico by Hernán Cortés tells us that when Moctezuma II, emperor of the Aztecs, dined, he took no other beverage than chocolate, served in a golden goblet. Flavored with vanilla or other spices, his chocolate was whipped into a froth that dissolved in the mouth. No fewer than 60 portions each day reportedly may have been consumed by Moctezuma II, and 2,000 more by the nobles of his court.[11]

By the middle of the 17th century, the Spaniards had introduced chocolate to Europe and it had become a well-liked beverage. [12] Spaniards also introduced the cacao tree to the West Indiesand the Philippines.[13] It was also introduced into the rest of Asia and into West Africa by Europeans. In the Gold Coast, modern Ghana, cacao was introduced by an African, Tetteh Quarshie.

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