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It’s National Cocoa Day! Nothing warms you up better on a cold winter day than a nice cup of hot cocoa! Cocoa (the dried, fully fermented seeds of the cacao tree) is the basis for cocoa powder, which is used to make the hot cocoa beverage we all know and love. Did you know that monkeys were the first creatures to discover that the cacao plant was edible and quite tasty? Over 1500 years ago, monkeys began to consume the pulp of the plant and spit out the beans. Humans soon began to follow the monkey's example and the rest is history.
Cacao trees are grown all over the world, but it is believed that the first cacao trees grew in South America. Cocoa is similar to wine in that its flavor differs depending on the location where it is grown. It's a good thing that cacao trees are plentiful because approximately 300 to 600 cocoa beans are needed to make just two pounds of chocolate!
To celebrate National Cocoa Day, make your favorite type of cocoa to enjoy. For a holiday twist on a traditional cup of cocoa, try adding a candy cane!