Chocolate’s Relatives

Been doing some research lately on the various relatives of our good friend Theobroma Cacao (ie., the stuff that makes chocolate), and there are various other tropical plants in the Sterculiaceae family’s Theobroma branch, many of which are apparently quite tasty.

There’s Theobroma grandiflorum, grown in Brazil, with a fruity pulp that’s used to make soft drinks, wine, ice cream, etc. Apparently, when in season, fresh grandiflorum (called cupuacu in Brazil) is quite expensive. This is now on the list of things that I must try. Grandiflorum seeds are also used to produce a type of chocolate called “cupulate.”

In general, I’m quite curious to taste what the actual cacao fruit tastes like. It is used to make a kind of jelly Several research papers have mentioned it as a possible tropical product, but at the moment, nearly all of it is used to ferment the beans in the cacao pod. According to Coe’s “True History of Chocolate”, it was also popular for fermentation into a wine in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

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