There are approximately 22 Theobroma species, and about 15 are utilized for their edible pulp or seeds. Cocoa, Theobroma cacao, is the most important species. Theobroma gileri (mountain cocoa), T. bicolor (macambo) and T. subincanum (wild cocoa) are other species utilized for their sweet, edible pulp and edible seeds.
On Kauai we have started propagating Theobroma grandiflorum (Sterculiaceae) commonly called Cupuassu. The pulp is thick, somwhat fibrous, and very aromatic. It is also very acid, with a pH of 3.3. It is eaten fresh, and used in the preparation of drinks, ice cream, baked goods, candies and jams. The seeds contain a white, aromatic fat, similar to that of cocoa, that is used to make a type of white chocolate called cupulate. A portion of 100 g of seeds contains 15 g carbohydrate, 51 g fat and 20 g protein.
Has any chocolate maker on the chocolate life every made cupulate? We are going to experiment with added cupulate to chocolate. We are also going to be cross pollinating different cultivars to find a more wind resistant strain. Is is possible to cross a T. bicolor (macambo) with a criollo? Does microbial fermentation of cupuassu seeds bring out the flavor or increase alkaloids? What are the levels of theobromine, phenelethamaine, and other chemicals in the various cultivars of theobroma? We hope to answer these and many more questions in the next few years.