cacao

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cacao

(kəkä`ō, –kā`–), tropical tree (Theobroma cacao) of the family Sterculiaceae (sterculiasterculia
, common name for some members of the Sterculiaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and trees of tropical and subtropical regions. The most important members of the family are the cacao, source of cocoa and chocolate, and the cola, the caffeine-rich seeds of which are used
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 family), native to South America, where it was first domesticated and was highly prized by the Aztecs. It has been extensively cultivated in the Old World since the Spanish conquest. The fruit is a pod containing a sweetish pulp in which are embedded rows of seeds, the cocoa "beans" of commerce. To obtain cocoa, the harvested pods are fermented by naturally occurring bacteria and yeasts to eliminate their bitter, astringent quality. The seeds are then cured and roasted. The clean kernels, called cocoa nibs, are manufactured into various products. Their large percentage of fat, removed by pressure, is the so-called cocoa butter used in fine soaps and cosmetics and in medicine for emollients and suppositories; the residue is ground to a powder (cocoa) and used for beverages and flavoring. Chocolatechocolate,
general term for the products of the seeds of the cacao or chocolate tree, used for making beverages or confectionery. The flavor of chocolate depends not only on the quality of the cocoa nibs (the remainder after the seeds are fermented, dried, and roasted) and the
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 is a product in which the cocoa butter has been retained. Cacao products have a high food value because of the large proportion of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Cacao is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Malvales, family Sterculiaceae.

Cacao

 

(1) a plant of the genus Theobroma of the family Sterculiaceae and (2) the food product obtained from the seeds of that plant [in English, the term “cocoa” is more commonly used for the food product].

The seeds of cacao beans have a bitter astringent taste, which is caused by the presence of tanins and theobromine, and do not have the aroma and taste characteristic of chocolate products. The color of the beans ranges from violet to gray and white. In order to improve their flavor, freshly picked beans separated from the pulp are fermented for two to seven days. As a result of complex biochemical processes, the beans turn various shades of brown and acquire a pleasant aroma and taste. Next the beans are dried in the sun on plantations or are dried by heated air.

Cacao is a valuable food raw material. The average composition of the kernel (evaluation of the dry substance) is water, 4—6 percent; fat, cocoa butter, 51-54 percent; starch, 7-10 percent; glucose, fructose, 1-2 percent; protein, 10-12 percent; theobromine, caffeine, 1-1.5 percent; tannins, 4-7 percent; acids, 1-2 percent; and mineral substances, 2-3 percent.

After the beans are cleaned, sorted, and thermally treated, they are broken into nibs and finely ground to make ground cacao, which in turn is used to make cocoa butter and chocolate. Cocoa butter is made by pressing the ground cacao. The remaining cake is coarsely broken and pulverized to make cocoa powder, which is used to prepare the beverage cocoa.

cacao

[kə′kau̇]
(botany)
Theobroma cacao. A small tropical tree of the order Theales that bears capsular fruits which are a source of cocoa powder and chocolate. Also known as chocolate tree.

cacao

1. a small tropical American evergreen tree, Theobroma cacao, having yellowish flowers and reddish-brown seed pods from which cocoa and chocolate are prepared: family Sterculiaceae
2. cacao bean another name for cocoa bean
References in periodicals archive ?
Indonesia is one of the world's largest producer of cacao beans with annual production of around 700,000-800,000 tons.
The country's however, is still lagging behind many other smaller producers in the development of the downstream industry of the cacao sector.
In 2006, the country's cacao production totaled 769,000 tons, up to 779,000 tons in 2007 and to 795,000 tons in 2008.
The government has announced program to revitalize the country's cacao plantations to increase productivity and improve quality.
The program will require larger supply of cacao shoots.
According to historian Carlos Viso, who lives in Carupano, the city regarded by Paria as its real capital, Corsican cacao growers linked to the French were already present before independence.
The high-flying days of the golden age of cacao--the famous and sought-after cacao fino de Paria--were gone, and the towns--Carupano, Guiria, Rio Caribe--had begun to decay irreversibly, surviving as colonial relics.
When he went to see the site, like the first Europeans five hundred years ago, he could not believe his eyes: Old cacao plantations, Pupuy and Santa Ines, on the northern coast of Paria, more than five hundred acres of land, and nine miles of beaches on the Caribbean Sea--Medinita, Mapurite, Chaguaramas, Pupuy, and Playa Medina--that evoke paradise.
Next, the Paria Project group decided to revive the cultivation of cacao (efficient production to supplant current subsistence farming), combined with a program of agroecology, that is, raising buffaloes and developing products derived from them.
Regarding organic farming, the growing of cacao fino de Paria has been resumed at the Agua Santa hacienda, where seeds can be dried in the sun under enormous sliding ceilings.
Cabaret is dedicated to a renaissance of chocolate made exclusively from fine cacaos.
People know that wine is made from grapes and coffee from coffee beans, but did they know that chocolate is made from the cacao bean?