I am, and have always been, a symbol of indulgence, love, richness, and joy. Lucky kids wear me smeared across their mouths and on their fingertips as a sign of the ultimate childhood satisfaction. I’m the iconic Valentine’s Day gift for celebrating romance, yet also the go-to salve for the rejected or dejected any day of the year. But prepare for your chocolateloving hearts to break just a bit, folks. My life story is not entirely sweet.
It is hot and epic, which is only fitting given that I am native to the equatorial regions of the Americas and have been around for many millennia. I come from a small evergreen tree in the genus Theobroma (“food of the gods” in Greek) that grows football-shaped pods—not on its branches, like most fruit trees, but on the trunk. The pods have leathery skins that cover a slimy, sweet-sour flesh and house roughly 40 seeds each.
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