A neatly packaged chocolate bar is the end result of a long and delicate process that typically begins on a small family farm in a tropical country.
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, found in pods growing from the trunk and lower branches of the cacao tree. These trees thrive in the hot and humid climates of tropical rain forests, and grow up to 40 feet high in the shade of larger trees, which protect them from strong sunlight.
Each cacao plant produces 60-70 pods 10-14 inches long, which take about six months to mature. Each pod contains 20-40 white beans, which are fermented for several days until they develop a brown color and the chocolate flavour. The beans are then dried and shipped to processing plants, where the real magic begins.
The main cocoa bean production areas are in tropical areas, between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn - places like The Ivory Coast, Ghana, Brazil, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indo-China, Venezuela and The Caribbean.