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Where Does Chocolate Come From?
Blog / Chocolate / Where Does Chocolate Come From?

Where Does Chocolate Come From?

Have you ever wondered where chocolate comes from and how it starts its life?

Well, you’re about to learn all the facts you need to know! The main ingredient in chocolate is cocoa (or “ka-kow” as it is correctly pronounced).

So, when we’re asking where chocolate comes from, the critical question is where cocoa comes from.

Let’s find out…

What is Cocoa?

Cocoa seeds come from the cacao tree, and all chocolate products are derived from the seeds of the Theobroma tree.

Indeed, chocolate originates from trees (in a manner of speaking)! The Theobroma tree, native to Central and South America, is a small tropical tree.

This tree yields an oval, pod-like fruit that houses between 30 to 60 seeds.

These seeds, also referred to as 'beans,' are enveloped in a sweet, sticky white pulp

Did you know?! - Theobroma is Greek for “food of gods”.

(You might also enjoy reading this post looking in depth at the history of chocolate).

Where is Cocoa Grown?

Cocoa is grown in tropical regions worldwide, particularly in West Africa, South America, and Asia.

The largest producers of cocoa are Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia, which account for most of the world’s cocoa production.

Other significant cocoa-producing countries include Nigeria, Cameroon, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and the Dominican Republic.

The cultivation of cocoa requires specific weather conditions, including a hot and humid climate, ample rainfall, and well-draining soil, which makes it suitable for cultivation in these tropical regions.

(Take a look at this post if you want to know: Is dark chocolate ok for vegans?)

Where is Chocolate Made?

Ok, we know that cocoa grows on a cacao tree, and the seed/beans contained in the pods are used to make chocolate.

But where is chocolate made?

Although the cacao trees are found in the tropics, most chocolate is made outside of these countries, and a lot of chocolate is being made in factories across the UK, including at Whitakers Chocolates!

It takes a lot of time and machinery to turn cocoa beans into liquid chocolate.

And it’s only when it’s a liquid form that your favourite chocolate treats can be made a reality.

For example, in Whitakers Chocolates, we have huge holding tanks full of liquid chocolate, heated continually to keep the chocolate at melting point.

Liquid chocolate is then pumped through a maze of pipes to dedicated machines that transfer the chocolate into moulds (e.g. chocolate bar moulds).

The moulds are then fed through cooling tunnels which allow the chocolate to set before they can be removed from the mould and placed into their packaging, ready to barcode and send to our lovely customers!

Liquid chocolate can literally be turned into anything, from:

(You might also want to read this blog post looking at the question: how is chocolate made step-by-step?)

Does Chocolate Grow on Trees?

Chocolate does grow on trees, but not in the form we usually consume it.

Chocolate is made from the seeds, or beans, of the Theobroma cacao tree, which is native to Central and South America.

The tree produces pod-like fruits containing cocoa seeds, which are then processed to make chocolate products.

(Check this post out if you are interested in the question: how many squares of dark chocolate per day should you consume?).

Where Does Whitakers Chocolate Come From?

At Whitakers, we’re committed to responsible and sustainable trading.

That means we work with like-minded suppliers who share the same values and goals.

When it comes to sourcing our chocolate, we work with our chocolate partner “Cargill’ to ensure we are buying cocoa at fair prices and from responsible farmers who treat their workers and environment with the utmost respect.

We are 100% against child labour and therefore pay a premium for our chocolate by buying Fairtrade Cocoa.

The majority of our chocolate comes from the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Our chocolate is blended into a secret recipe, which gives our chocolates their unique Whitakers taste!

(You might also be interested in this post asking: what is chocolate?)

What is the Theobroma Cacao Tree?

The Theobroma tree, more correctly known as Theobroma cacao, is a small, tropical evergreen tree native to Central and South America.

It is the primary source of cocoa beans, the key ingredient in chocolate production.

The tree thrives in the humid and warm climates of the region, typically within 20 degrees latitude of the equator.

Theobroma cacao produces large, oval-shaped seed pods that each contain 30 to 60 seeds, or cocoa beans, wrapped in a sweet, sticky white pulp.

The beans are harvested, fermented, dried, roasted, and then finally processed to create cocoa and chocolate products for consumption worldwide.

(Click here if you are interested in this post asking the question: what is dark chocolate made of?)

Final Notes On Where Chocolate Comes From

Chocolate, the sweet and tasty treat enjoyed by people worldwide, originates in the tropical regions of the world, where cocoa trees grow.

The cultivation and processing of cocoa beans into chocolate have a long and fascinating history, beginning with the ancient Mesoamerican civilizations and continuing through to the present day.

Today, the majority of the world’s cocoa is produced in West Africa, with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana leading the way in production.

However, the global chocolate industry relies on cocoa from many different countries, each with its unique growing conditions and methods of cultivation.

The story of where chocolate comes from is one that is deeply intertwined with the cultures and histories of the people who have grown, traded, and consumed it over the centuries.

So there you have it, cocoa is a fruit that grows on a tropical tree and is the main ingredient in making chocolate.

Although no cacao trees grow in the UK, chocolate is actually made right here in factories across the country, including right here at Whitakers!

Thanks for reading this post and looking at the question: where does chocolate come from?

Before you go, you might like to read this post asking - when was chocolate invented?

Or this one looking at: Is hot chocolate good for you?