Cacao Fruits

Cacao Fruits are the Main Ingredient in Chocolate!

There is one unique fruit that few people have ever seen or tasted. Yet EVERYBODY has tasted the main product produced from this fruit. Yes Cacao is the main source and ingredient to produce chocolate. And yes, everybody has tasted chocolate and loves it!

Switzerland has the reputation for producing the best chocolate in the world. Yet Switzerland does not have any cacao produced within its territory! Cacao is one of the most significant contributions that America gave to Europe. Christopher Columbus came across the first cacao beans during his fourth and last voyage to the “Indies”. He disembarked in the Bay Island of Guanaja. While replenishing his supply of fresh water, met a large canoe with native traders. The traders were particularly cautious in protecting the Cacao beans they had onboard.

Honduras was the Site for the First Encounter Between Cacao and the Europeans!

Cacao Fruits
Colorful cacao pods.  Photo:

Cacao was valuable to the Native Americans. In some cases, was even used as cash to trade different goods. Columbus was able to negotiate with the locals and got his hands on some Cacao beans to take back to Europe. That was the beginning of a love affair between the Europeans and Chocolate. And to think it all started in Honduras! Yes the Cacao Beans that Europe ever saw and tasted came from Cacao Fruits produced in Honduras! This is one of the first exotic tropical fruits from America that Europeans got to taste!

Cacao is native to Central America and Mexico, as well as parts of South America.  During colonial times, cacao was one of the main exports from the Spanish Colony of New Spain to Spain. Cacao is native to the hot, humid climate of the tropical rain forests in Central America. It is one of the most sustainable crops you can grow in the region. Normally, a Cacao plantation is under a high jungle canopy, as cacao grows well in shaded plantations.

Most of Central Americas’ Cacao plantations where decimated by a fungus 20 years ago.  Africa, took over as the World’s most important Cacao producing region. This despite the fact that the fruit is not native to the continent. The FHIA (Fundacion Hondurena de Investigacion Agricola) has worked hard to reintroduce Cacao to the Honduran agricultural scene. New, resistant cacao fruit strains are now part of the new plantations.

Honduras Chocolate is Awesome!

Cacao Fruits and Honduras Chocolate
An exhibit of locally produced Chocolate and Cacao from the Cangrejal River Valley in La Ceiba, Honduras

As a result, cacao has made an important comeback. Today, Honduras is again producing some World Class Cacao Fruits. As a result, organic cacao fruits and chocolate are produced in Honduras. Within the Cangrejal  River Valley there are two different outfits are producing gourmet chocolate. Most of the product is for export purposes. It seems only fair that Honduras recovers that position as a cacao producing region.

I invite you to take some time off to visit the Cangrejal River Valley. Here you will get a taste of the local chocolate produced here, and become familiar with the cacao fruit. The two outfits are Chocolate Oro Maya and Xocolatl. Bon apetit!