Chocolate or cocoa is a food made from roasted and ground cacao seed kernels that is available as a liquid, solid, or paste, either on its own or as a flavoring agent in other foods. Cacao has been consumed in some form for at least 5,300 years starting with the Mayo-Chinchipe culture in what is present-day Ecuador and later Mesoamerican civilizations also consumed chocolate beverages before being introduced to Europe in the 16th century.The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop the flavor. After fermentation, the seeds are dried, cleaned, and roasted. The shell is removed to produce cocoa nibs, which are then ground to cocoa mass, unadulterated chocolate in rough form. Once the cocoa mass is liquefied by heating, it is called chocolate liquor.

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