Gim is holding two cacao fruits (scientific name is Theobroma Cacao), from which my most favorite food of all – chocolate – is made. Last week, we went to Nangka again, only we found out it wasn’t yet Nangka but Lampakan. Anyways, back in Lampakan, Gim and I decided to visit a cave he remembered was easily accessible. I had been pestering him for ages to bring me to a cave, so I could show you pictures. The caretakers of the elementary school were very friendly (unlike some of the other people in Lampakan, more on that later) and they showed us to the cave. It turns out the cave was too small to enter, and Gim admitted that maybe he had mixed up his cave memories. We trudged back up to school in disappointment, but then we saw two huge fruits which looked like coconuts to me, only oblong-shaped, and Gim said those were cacao, and the caretaker told us we could have them as souvenirs! (Haha, as if we were tourists.)
I had never seen a cacao fruit up close before, even though it’s actually very common here in the Philippines. This made me very intrigued, and for a full day I harbored ideas of creating my own chocolate bars. Alas, after a bit of research, I saw that wasn’t possible. The process of turning cacao into chocolate is a bit overwhelming.
First you have to scoop out the cacao seeds from the fruit, then you have to let them ferment for a week under a banana leaf, then you dry them out in the sun for a week, then you de-bacterialize them (how, I wonder?) then you roast them, then you pound them or grind them and peel off the seed’s outer layer and then you have chocolate powder – which you can mix with milk, sugar and other ingredients to make chocolate.
Whew. I think I’ll just buy a Cadbury bar instead.