“You will never understand cacao until you see it in the tropics,” Schilling said one day. He mentioned Diego Badaró, a “spiritual brother” who farms it in the rain forests of Brazil. We should go to Bahia, Schilling proposed. And I agreed.
Badaró twisted a pod off a trunk and lopped off the top with his machete. The inside was creamy wet. It smelled of honey and orange and perfume. This was the pulp surrounding the giant seeds. The seeds looked like wet white maggots. Nothing suggested chocolate. Badaró stuck his fingers inside, pulled out some seeds, and tipped them into my hand, and I ate them.
They had a slimy, sweet zing, more liquid than substance, and as I rubbed them against the roof of my mouth the pulp disintegrated. I was left with four seeds—still a mouthful. I bit one gently. It was bitter, awful. I spit it out.
Excerpt from: Extreme Chocolate Published in The New Yorker
Words by Bill Buford and photographs by Jason Florio