Beeing fascinated by chocolate, one naturally gets interested in the source of this wonderful product aswell. To us Western people, chocolate is well-known. The cocoa beans, pods and the tree itself are as illusive as pixie dust. No one really knows them.
Slowly I’m starting to get a view on the wonderful world of cocoa production and I’ve seen some pods in real life, but I never expected to see the real deal in real life, simply cause one has to travel to the equator in order to find them.
To my surprise, I stumbled upon one recently, during a trip in the Rouen area in France. Biotropica in Val De Reuil seemed a perfect destination to entertain the kids on a grey afternoon. This vast greenhouse houses a large collection of tropical animal life and lots of tropical plant species. And there she was. A tree catching my immediate attention. A small, green pod growing on its stem. Little flowers surrounded the pod. What a great sight. The Theobroma Cacao tree.
Many people will pass this plant without noticing. But not me, as it is the source of such great taste experience. The very beginning of chocolate. Just a little encounter that made my day even more magical. And I smiled as we continued our tour…