Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chocolate Meltdown?

A girl shows off chocolate insects in La Chocolatera in Bogotá's La  Macarena neighborhood. 
This is Chocolate Week, an industry-invented event if I've ever seen one. And Colombia grows and produces chocolate, altho Colombians also consume so much chocolate that the country doesn't export it.

A sack of 'green' dried but unroasted cocoa
beans in Cafe de la Fonda coffee factory. 
This delicious treat is native to the Americas, where the Aztecs called it the cocoa bean 'xoco latl' - which Europeans deformed into the world 'chocolate.' For centuries after the Spanish imported cocoa to Europe, chocolate was considered a medicine and aphrodisiac, until a series of inventions produced the modern treat. Chocolate's history is not all sweetness, however. For centuries the treat was produced using slave labor, both in the Americas, and, until the early 1900s, in Africa.

Today, Africa produces much more chocolate than the Americas do - but researchers at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Cali, Colombia, say that global warming could meltdown Africa's cocoa industry within a few years. The might be good for Colombia - but it'd be a disaster for African farmers and for the world's chocolate lovers.

Coffee beans, cocoa beans and the cocoa fruit, which contains the beans. 

Dumping out roasted cocoa beans. 
A handful of cocoa beans. 

Cocoa beans mixed with sugar cane sugar make a sweet treat.

Chocolate treats.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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