So I just returned from a lovely, relaxing holiday in Cornwall. Needless to say, I’m always on the lookout for anything remotely chocolatey, especially when I’m elsewhere, to see what curiosities I can find. I found a number of wonderful chocolatey treasures.
Let’s start with the best first. This was both unexpected and hugely exciting – at The Eden Project, they have a rainforest biome – a mini rainforest created in a huge greenhouse-type dome. I had no idea they had cacao trees there (Theobroma cacao, food of the gods), so when we came across them I jumped up and down a little wildly and squealed “Eeeeeee!”.
What a magical tree, smaller than you’d expect, with shiny, waxy leaves, peppermint green pods and a mystical aura. And take a look at the beautiful, intricate, exotic flowers:
Most of the pods were green, but I did manage to find a couple of gorgeous reddish-brown ones that looked a bit more mature:
How I would have loved to be able to open one up and taste the sweet mucilage encasing the beans – but I suppose that will have to wait until I can visit a cacao plantation. For now, the privilege of seeing and touching cacao trees will tide me over until such time. What an amazing surprise.
Other treasures included a trip to I Should Coco, a sweet little chocolate shop in St Ives and the discovery of solid ‘chocolate pasties’ in touristy shops all over the region. I’ll leave you with just one more picture, a dried cocoa pod on display in I Should Coco: