Davao Cacao - Tablea
This may come as a surprise to many but Davao is the country's top producer and exporter of cacao, where chocolate is made from. In Davao, the major cacao-producing provinces are Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao Oriental, Bukidnon, and Davao del Norte.
Cacao grows best on higher ground, to an elevation of at least
>1,000 meters above sea level usually in between other trees where it is shaded for optimal growth. It thrives best in areas like Davao where there is an evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. Upon reaching maturity, the cacao pods sprout from its trunk and branches and embedded inside the pods are layers of 20 - 60 cacao beans.
Man's fascination with chocolates has its roots from the Aztecs of South America who have already enjoyed this so called "Drink of the Gods" long before Christopher Columbus discovered it from the Aztecs in the 15th century and brought it back to the new world to show King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. While cocoa became a court favorite, it was the Spanish friars who actually introduced the wonders of the chocolate beans to the rest of Europe. It was served as beverage, but the Europeans added sugar and milk to neutralize the cocoa's natural bitterness and removed the chili pepper, replacing it with vanilla, another indigenous Mexican spice.
For hundreds of years, the process of extracting cocoa butter to create hard and durable chocolate through mechanical mills in the 18th century remained unchanged. However, it was not until the Industrial Revolution era that these mills were utilized for greater use. This was when people around the world began consuming chocolates.
Nina Angela U. Aboga