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CHOCOLATE


Everybody loves chocolate. We eat chocolate candy and chocolate desserts. We drink hot chocolate. Even the word for chocolate is similar in most languages. Where did chocolate come from originally, and how is it produced


Chocolate is native to Mexico. The Indians there called it " chocolatl " . They ground beans from the the cacao or cocoa tree and mixed them with water and vanilla to make a drink. The Aztec Indians believed that God sent them this special kind of tree, and their chocolate drink was important in their religion


Spanish explorers took cocoa beans back to Spain in the sixteenth century. The Spanish added sugar to their chocolate drink. They kept their recipe secret from the rest of Europe for a hundred years


In the seventeenth century, people in England started opening chocolate houses. By 1715 there were 2,000 chocolate houses in London alone. People met there to talk and drink chocolate. The custom of leaving tips for waiters originated in chocolate houses


The Swiss were the first to make solid milk chocolate, in 1876. Milk chocolate is a mixture of chocolate, sugar, and milk. Chocolate bars are made of milk chocolate


Cacao trees can grow only in the hot, humid tropics. The balance of temperature, rainfall, and soil conditions must be exactly right


A cacao tree is about seven meters high and is covered with large leaves. Up to 6,000 small pink or white flowers appear on a tree every year. Only a few of these flowers produce a pod. Each pod is about 15 to 20 centimeters long and contains from 20 to 50 beans. A tree produces only about 20 to 40 pods a year


People gather these pods, break them open with large knives, take out the beans, and dry them. After a few days the beans are cleaned, roasted, and ground into tiny pieces. The natural fat in the beans becomes a liquid. Chocolate is made from this liquid


Today the largest suppliers of chocolate are Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Brazil. Ghana got its first cacao tree from Fernando Po, a Spanish colony off the coast of Africa. A Ghanian who was working on Fernando Po in 1879 took a cacao pod home and planted it. It grew into a tree. Other people slowly started growing cacao trees. Before this, there were wars in the region for decades. When people started growing cacao trees, they stopped fighting. In this way, chocolate brought peace to the Africans there


A tropical tree with an Indian name brought peace to West Africa. Chocolate brings pleasure to all of us when we eat and drink this delicious food


Source : Concepts and Comments

دسته ها : English Readings
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