The Chocolate Life

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Comment by Mark J Sciscenti on August 4, 2009 at 3:37pm
Hi Clay, that photo was taken in Comalcalco, Tobasco, Mexico on the famous "criollo" cacao plantation. Can't remember the name of the plantation - Steve DeVries knows the one I'm talking about. Really large plantation too, about 40 hectares and she wanted to develop another 20 - I was surprised, though I've only seen a few so far. The cacao was all grafted with some small amount of seedlings, a monocrop if ever I've seen one. Hardly any mother trees or 3 tiered canopy. Ah well, commercial production... I don't know if the plantation was criollo (I doubt it) but the cacao pods we broke open to partake of the fruit of had really white seeds which had a mild and not bitter taste, a better variety I suspect. The final chocolate was decent as well, although I can't stand how much sugar is put into Mexican chocolate!

I was in Tobasco and Chiapas in Feb. 2007 co-leading a chocolate and archaeology tour to cacao plantations and Mayan sites. Went to several plantations and in Chiapas went to Palenque, Bonampak and Yaxchilan. Had great fun!

I am in the process of writing a proposal for a trip to Oaxaca, MX for 2010 to combine culinary, archaeology and botanical for the Slow Food group. I will let you know when this us up for advertisement.
Comment by Clay Gordon on August 3, 2009 at 9:20pm
Hey Mark - Where was this taken? Any other story(ies) about the photo?

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