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theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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September 8, 2003 - 7:58 pm
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Hi
I've heard that there are substances similar to chocolate made from theobroma cacao's close relatives, like theobroma pentagona, theobroma leiocarpa, theobroma bicolor, theobroma grandiflorum, theobroma speciosum... I've found the following on the Domori site but would like to know more:

"The Theobroma bicolor is a species similar to the cacao tree, and is grown from southern Mexico to Bolivia and Brazil. Its beans are called pataxte; they are used to make a special drink, and can also produce a chocolate surrogate.
The Theobroma grandiflorum, also known as cupuacu in Brazil, is used to make a drink obtained from the pulp surrounding the beans.
Today in Amazonia the Arawete and Asurini native Americans grow the Theobroma speciosum; they can produce a chocolate surrogate from it, but more frequently they eat its pulp."
-domori website (www.domori.com)

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Martin Christy
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September 11, 2003 - 1:32 am
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Interesting topic, I'm going to do some research on this and get back to you.

It's a fact that most of the chocolate eaten in the world now is made from Forestero, a variety or sub-species never used by the Mayas or Aztecs. They used what we now call Criollo. Forestero comes from cacao trees found by Spanish explorers in the Lower Amazon, thousands of miles from the home of Criollo in Central America. The native population never consumed it as anything but a fruit. Is it really cacao? It certainly has a different, less subtle flavour than the Criollo varieties. It is also (arguably) more resitant to disease and has a higher yield, which is why about 97% of world cocoa production is made from it.

Is Forestero really the food of the gods? Well, this is really just a shameless plug for our new article on this very subject at http://www.seventypercent.com/.....ature3.asp.

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bobvilax2000
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September 11, 2003 - 2:13 am
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I stumbled onto this page. It may be interesting to you. I would like to know what variety of beans different companies use. It would be interesting to know.

[url]http://www.mrkland.com/fun/xocoatl/variety.htm[/url]
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Martin Christy
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September 11, 2003 - 2:50 am
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Wow, never found that site before! I'll have to get in touch with mrk and get him over here!

Actually, ones of the points of the article is that the 'three variety' idea is a little outdated, and in fact there are many hundreds more of sub-varieties, cross breeds, lost cacaos, etc.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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September 11, 2003 - 4:14 am
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Well, Theobroma is the genus and cocao is the species. Cacao is simply one of many species of plant that fall under the Theobroma genus. As you pointed out, these other plants are used for a variety of other purposes ranging from straight eating to preparation into a froth; cacao is what we recognize and love as chocolate.

Because Forasteros are more resistent to disease and produce a higher yield, they are cheaper to grow. Economically speaking, these beans are the best choice for most brands if sales rely solely on quantity and not quality. Forasteros have a natural bitter flavor that must be removed by roasting longer. As a result, much of the flavor is in turn removed, and the flavor of the chocolate ends up flat but more robust (than a Criollos or Trinitarios). That's why most chocolates are a blend of beans: Forasteros to add bulk and Criollos or Trinitarios to add flavor.

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theobroma
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September 13, 2003 - 10:57 pm
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Hi
True. Theobroma is the genus, cacao is the species, and Criollo, Forastero and ... Trinitario? are the three most recognized varieties. Right? These are the three in the outdated three variety idea? Of course the 'lost' cacaos and such would be fascinating to learn about. That would make for a good site section.
I'm curious to know more about other edible substances made from other species. Cacao is, I believe, an ancient hybrid of two of the aforementioned species.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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September 14, 2003 - 3:12 am
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Do you mean that Trinitario is a hybrid of Forastero and Criollo? If you do, then you're correct. Trinitario was created on Trinidad when attempts were made to create a bean with the disease resistence of the Forastero and the flavor of the Criollo. Each of these three types of cocao have different varieties. For example, Criollo chocolate can be Ocumare, Porcelana, Caranero Superior, etc.

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Martin Christy
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September 14, 2003 - 11:38 am
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quote:


Trinitario was created on Trinidad when attempts were made to create a bean with the disease resistence of the Forastero and the flavor of the Criollo.


The genus of Trinitario is almost certainly more complicated than this, the cross more likely happened on the Venezualan mainland and the hybrid was carried to Trinidad after disease wiped out most of the cacao trees there, and the cross was probably natural rather than man made. Just another example showing that the received wisdom of the 'three varieties' turns out not to be the whole story.

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theobroma
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September 16, 2003 - 1:44 am
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Hi
Pete, what I meant was that the species cacao may be a hybrid of pentagona and leiocarpa. This is speculated on the domori site. If this is true, then their genetic structures must be very similar. Might a chocolate-like substance be produced from their beans?
kyle

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filou
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November 9, 2003 - 6:02 pm
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an interesting thing in Coe and Coe's true history of chocolate is that soem antive american's used theobroma cousins to make counterfeit cocoa beans, either to sell or to use as counterfeit currency.
anyway their is an interesting dicussion of the botanical aspects in thta book. I don't know if any of the other theobroma species have a sufficiletly high amount of alkaloids to make them rewarding to eat.

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