Cocoa powder is derived from the seeds of the cocoa tree that is native to the fertile forests of South America. The generic name – Theobroma – literally translates to ‘food of the gods’ – an appropriate title for a plant that has been revered since antiquity, not only for its unique taste, but also for its therapeutic and nutritional properties.
Cocoa was first cultivated by the Olmecs in Mexico as early as 1000 BC and was used to make fortifying beverages. Over time the Mayans and Aztecs adopted cocoa into their own cultures, incorporating the drink into ceremonial rituals and even using cocoa beans as currency. It wasn’t until the colonializing Spaniards arrived in the 1500s that cocoa was introduced to the Europeans who took to sweetening the beverage by adding sugar and cinnamon and heating it up to improve its texture. Cocoa also came to play an important medicinal role, used to treat a range of afflictions, from smallpox and yellow fever to cholera and snakebites. As demand continued to grow from the West, cocoa plantations began to be developed on a large scale.
Typical Values per 100g
Energy 303 kcal
of which saturates 0.9g
Protein 21 g