It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Black Gold - get a turkey hen for 100 beans

It seems almost certain that Olmecs first domesticated the cacao plant, Theobroma cacao, at about 1000 BC. The Olmecs lived in the area of Mexico we currently know as Veracruz and Tabasco. The word ‘cacao’ (originally pronounced kakawa) originates in the proto-Mixe-Zoquean at the very height of the Olmec civilization.
Cacao was later inherited by Mayans and Aztecs who also used cacao shamanistically and ritualistically. There are two broad varities of cacao, Criollo (var. cacao) and Forastero (var. sphaerocarpum), and a hybrid of the two families known as Trinitario. The cacao plant itself originates in Venezuela acc to relatively
recent DNA studies

Mayans were the first major civilization to use cacao as currency – cacao beans were used as standard currency in Mexico until 1887.
One turkey egg = 3 cacao beans
one large tomatoe = one cacao bean
one slave = 100 cacao beans
Ana Beatriz Parizot Wolter who runs Hacienda La Luz - a cocoa plantation in Comalcalco, Tabasco demonstrates the processing of cacao beans. Wolter's 26 hectar's plantation is a living museum of Cacao.
Chocolate is traditionally spiced with vanilla, cinnamon, chili pepper and allspice.
After fermenting, drying, roasting and shelling the cacao beans, the paste is transferred into a conche to be kneaded and smoothened up to 78 hours (conche was invented by the Swiss Lindt).
Yummy....

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