For centuries, the Aztecs of central and southern Mexico cultivated cocoa beans - the seeds of Theobroma cacao .
Esmereladas is their chocolate made from Ecuadorian cacao , that had a surprising tropical banana-like aroma and flavor.
The cocoa mass itself is naturally made up of about half cocoa butter and half dry cocoa solids, but since the ratio varies among beans, two brands labeled 70 percent cacao may not have the same percentage of cocoa butter.
The homemade tiramisu was just as should be, fluffy and not too sweet, with a dusting of cacao on the layers of ladyfingers and mascarpone.
The Kuna Indians of Panama consume up to five cups of cocoa a day and include cacao in many of their traditional recipes.
But chocolate is manufactured from the cocoa plant Theobroma cacao , which literally translates as ‘food of the gods’.
Mature fruits of Theobroma cacao were harvested from a Malaysian plantation.
Wild cacao grew in many parts of tropical America, including the coast of what is now Ecuador.
For dessert, the tiramisu looks like it was scooped from a fluffy snow-peaked mountain and sprinkled with fresh raspberries and cacao .
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the seeds of Theobroma cacao , an ‘understory’ tree that evolved beneath the canopies of Latin American rainforests.