Cacao pulp (fruit) + seeds (beans)
Purchased from: N/A - included in farm tours
No Nicaraguan chocolate field trip would be complete without a quick mention of the edible cacao fruit (pulp) fresh from the pod, that surrounds the seeds (beans) that are used to make chocolate.
The pulpy white fruit is a delicious tropical fruit. And this past week in Nicaragua, our group tasted fresh cacao from four different farms.
To eat the pulp, first you have to cut the thick, outer "shell" with a machete (or on a hard rock If you'd prefer). Then you scoop up the insides, and basically suck the white-ish fruit pulp off the seed/bean, which may not appeal to everyone.
But, the flavor is unique and refreshing. It can be zesty and citrus-like, or it can taste like tart-sweet and/or floral bananas, raspberries, or mangos. More than once, I've been reminded of watermelon Jolly Rancher candies.
While eating the cacao fruit isn't the same as eating finished chocolate, I couldn't resist giving a shout out to Henry Haslem's Farm, Cacao Bisiesto, and other Nicaraguan farms (or fincas) outside of Matagalpa, in the Nicaraguan highlands.
*Note: Fresh, frozen cacao fruit/pulp can also be ordered online.