топик Cocoa



Cocoa is the main ingredient in chocolate. Cocoa comes from the seeds of the cacao tree. About 30 to 50 almond-sized seeds grow in pods on the tree. When the pods are ripe, they are harvested, and the seeds are removed and put on racks to dry in the sun. The seeds are then crushed and most of the cocoa butter, or oil, is removed from them. A very bitter-tasting powder remains.

Over 2,000 years ago, the Mayan Indians of South America discovered how to dry and crush the cacao seeds and use the powder to make a drink. They introduced it to the Aztec Indians of Mexico, and it became their emperor ’s favorite drink. The Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés learned about it from the Aztecs in 1519. He added cane sugar to the drink to make it sweeter. He took cacao beans back to Spain and the new drink was soon very popular with wealthy Spaniards. By 1700, the drink was also popular in France and Great Britain. In about 1730, a machine that could crush cacoa beans was invented.

This made it less expensive to produce cocoa powder and soon everyone could afford to enjoy the chocolate drink. Then, in 1847, an English company mixed melted cocoa butter with sugar and cocoa powder to create the first chocolate “bar.” The first American chocolate factory was built in 1765. During World War II, the U.S. Army gave soldiers chocolate bars as rations, and troops are still given chocolate. Astronauts have even taken it into outer space.

Chocolate is the second most popular flavor in the world, after vanilla. It is used in cakes, ice cream, and many other desserts, as well as in chocolate bars. Researchers have discovered that chocolate contains compounds called antioxidants that may protect against some types of cancer and heart disease.

 

Pre-Reading Warm Up Questions 

  1. Do you like chocolate? If so, what kind of chocolate products do you like to eat, cookies, cakes, chocolate bars, etc?
  2. Do you know where cocoa comes from?
  3. Do you know who first used cocoa powder to make a drink?
  4. Where do you think the first chocolate bar was made?
  5. What do you think is the most popular flavor in the world?
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