Sunday, March 02, 2008

Theobroma Cacao.

One of the V-Day gifts for A was a "Make Your Own Chocolate Kit". He has often asked about the origin and process of chocolate, and we have read books and looked it up online...but he wanted to make chocolate! We finally had time this weekend to do it!

The kit, which contains fair trade organic ingredients, is just a few packets which contains cocoa butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, crystals and some paper cups. There are also a few sample cacao beans to look at and feel. There is a story included about the organic farmers who grow the cacao, organic farming methods as well as the legend of cacao.

"Cacao was so special to the ancient Aztecs that they told this legend: Their god, Quetzalcoatl, brought the cacao tree from Paradise to earth, traveling on a beam of the Morning Star. He gave the tree as an offering to the people, and they learned how to roast and grind its beans into a paste. They added spices and mixed it with water calling it "xocolatl" or "bitterwater". They believed that it brought wisdom and knowledge to those who drank it."

The instructions to 'make' the chocolate were pretty simple, but required an adult hand due to temperature. The boys poured ingredients into the bowl, stirred as it cooled, and checked the sticky thermometer for the right temperature to add or stir. Into the little cups they added natural marshmallows or peanuts. When it was ready, they spooned the chocolate into the cups, and we let them harden.

They had a lot of fun learning about and making chocolate pieces. G doesn't like chocolate, but liked the process. A enjoys chocolate a little - but only in very tiny amounts. And my husband doesn't like the richness of dark chocolate. Leaving lots of rich organic dark chocolate just for me.

Interested in chocolate? Here are a few good links.
World Cocoa Foundation | The Cocoa Tree | Chocolate Kit

In Latin, the name of the cacao tree is Theobroma cacao, which means "food of the gods."


Maria said...

OH, that's funny! Do I like chocolate!?? In high school we had to do a "demonstration speech" I demonstrated chocolate. It's history, different types of chocolate, etc...and passed out samples. I got an A. Just like your kids!

This is a great project. Your sons hair and eyes are so striking with all that dark chocolate.

Tell them I was VERY impressed with their very cool cooking "skillz".

dawn klinge said...

What a great project! Everyone in my house loves chocolate, especially the rich, dark, organic kind. That is a very cute picture of your son.

Anonymous said...

If I didn't know how selfless you are, I would guess there was a certain method to your kitchen madness this time.

Tara said...

Oh yeah, I love chocolate!
I had sort of planned to do a mini-unit on chocolate with Owen last month- we didn't get to it. The links will come in handy- thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yes, that is why I eat so much chocolate, because it brings me much "wisdom and knowledge". I knew there was a good reason!

Your little A seems like such a thoughtful kid, always wanting learn and research new things.

The chocolate looks delicious. Mmmmmmmm....

Claudia - La Casa nella Prateria said...

Very inspiring, as usual... thank you!

Lisa Anne said...

That is so cool that you made your own chocolate! I am planting some hazelnut bushes this year and I say that we will be totally self sufficient once I can make my own organic "Nutella"... now if only we could grow our own cocoa beans.....

I laugh every time I see your reading list because we read virtually all the same books, even the handmade basket book! Jerome was making me a basket for Christmas until he injured his hand, I guess it will have to be for next year. We have a lot of willow on our property, we would like to make fencing with it but there is just the two of us working the farm so it is always a struggle just to get the garden work done.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

And it definitely lives up to its name!

Once I asked a rabbi-friend if there was a blessing for Theobroma. He replied: All the Songs of the Ascents!