Money may not grow on trees, but chocolate does!
OK! OK! So technically CHOCOLATE doesn't grow on trees, but one of its ingredients, Cacao (pronounced Ka-Cow) does. The Cacao tree (Scientific name: Theobroma cacao) is traditionally grown in South America, but can be found in West Africa. It requires a shady, humid climate with lots of rain and moist soils.
The Cacao tree grows up to a height of 8m and the pods can grow to 30cm long and can contain between 20 and 60 beans. Pods are usually harvested at the end of the wet, or rainy, season.
The rainforest alliance highlight just how long our relationship with this lovely bean has been going on for:
"Cocoa has been a food for humans since as far back as 600 to 200 B.C. when the first hot chocolate drink was made from mashed cocoa seeds. Cocoa is now a major cultivated food crop. Because chocolate is in such high demand throughout the world today, it is important that cacao trees be grown and harvested sustainably- in a way that is safe for wildlife, people and the environment."
So when you tuck into that Easter egg this weekend, just think about where that lovely chocolate came from.