Love chocolate? Did you know that at the heart of your choccy treats is cacao, a bean that grows on trees?

cacao beans

To find out all about chocolate’s vital ingredient, NG KiDS headed to the incredible country of Ecuador in South America, where cacao originally came from. Once there, we ventured into the Amazon rainforest to a small indigenous community called Santa Rita. It’s here that Ecuador’s famous “Arriba Nacional” grows, said to be the world’s finest cacao!

Check out our video to see NG KiDS grinding the beans and putting our chocolate making skills to the test…!


Want to 
make chocolate yourself? Here’s how to go about it…

1) First, get yourself over to the Equator – because cacao only grows near there, where the trees get all the warmth, shade and humidity they require.

cacao map

2) Wait six months for the cacao pods to ripen, then gather your family together to harvest them! Because cacao pods in your chacra (an area a bit like a large orchard) will have different colours, the best way to find out whether they’re ripe is to tap the pods. If it has a deep, hollow sound, it means the beans inside are ready!

cacao pods

3) Place the beans and the yummy pulp into large wooden boxes, cover them and leave them to ferment for a week, changing boxes every couple of days to allow air inside to help the process. The pulp will turn to liquid and drain away.

cacao pods

4) Next, lay the beans out on wooden boards and dry them for a week in the sun. Then, after the beans are dry, clean and check each one for quality by hand, binning any that may be mouldy.

5) Now roast the beans at 100°C for 40-90 minutes (the exact time and temperature depends on the beans). When they start to pop, they’re ready. Roasting releases new flavours, but don’t burn them!

6) Grind the insides of the beans (called nibs) into a mushy paste, called cocoa mass or liquor.

7) Blend with a bit of sugar and any flavours you’d like and keep grinding it (called conching) for several hours until it’s runny.

melted chocolate

8) Finally, pour the mixture into a mould and leave to set in the fridge for 15 minutes. Yum!

NG KiDS travelled with Journey Latin America (journeylatinamerica.co.uk) who specialise in holidays to Central and South America including Ecuador. To find out more about Pacari, visit pacarichocolate.com
Pictures: Tim Herbert, apart from title image and melted chocolate: Getty Images UK
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COMMENTS

  • EMMY

    Cool!!! It makes you think a bit more about chocolate.

  • I DID THAT IN COSTA RICA IT IS SO FUN.

  • Apple

    I ❤️ Chocolate!

  • HuskyLachlan

    Wow wish I could make that. And plus it just looks sooooooooo tasty!!!

  • derpyfish

    Wow. I will NEVER look at chocolate in the same way.

  • Hw

    I want to make this

  • kvucutfcviygvgu

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • iceup_sin

    fye

  • joeman

    epicccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc :)

  • cyclopshark

    wow but you can just buy cocoa nibs from a shop!!!

  • Nicolette

    Wow!

  • Bluescience

    Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hcc

    Great

  • Bobble

    So i am pretty much eating a giant seed!?

  • jeni

    wow

  • FlappyEared_Elephant

    I read about htis in the magazine. I knew that chocolate came from cocoa pods but I did not know that you could eat the soft part of the pod.

  • debby101

    I love chocolate but never knew it came from trees

  • Prehistorical

    Cool, I love chocolate!

Kew win a family trip

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