Discover the first fruit that Christopher Columbus ate when he arrived in America: it is known as ‘black gold’ | cocoa | Ecuador | South America | origin of cocoa | largest cocoa exporter in the world | The health benefits of cocoa | | World

Discover the first fruit that Christopher Columbus ate when he arrived in America: it is known as ‘black gold’ | cocoa | Ecuador | South America | origin of cocoa | largest cocoa exporter in the world | The health benefits of cocoa | | World
Discover the first fruit that Christopher Columbus ate when he arrived in America: it is known as ‘black gold’ | cocoa | Ecuador | South America | origin of cocoa | largest cocoa exporter in the world | The health benefits of cocoa | | World

This “first fruit of America” ​​turned out to be a treasure that would later transform culinary customs in Europe. Photo: Dall-e from ChatGPT

The first fruit that Christopher Columbus tasted when he set foot on American soil takes us on a fascinating historical journey. This fruit, essential for pre-Columbian cultures, was a protagonist in the expansion of the flavors of the New World to Europe. Used in the foods and drinks that the Spanish conquistadors tried, this food is currently consumed in South America and is recognized as ‘black gold’.

Historical records show that this fruit was already part of the diet and economy of indigenous civilizations long before the arrival of Europeans. However, it was Christopher Columbus who, on his trip to America in 1502, had the first documented encounter with that food. This “first fruit of America” ​​turned out to be a treasure that would later transform culinary customs in Europe.

West African countries are the ones that cultivate this fruit the most in the world. Photo: Methode

What is the first fruit that Christopher Columbus ate when he arrived in America?

The answer is cocoa. This fruit, which is mainly grown in the tropics, was one of the first to be exchanged between Native Americans and Europeans. Fascination with its grains quickly spread among the Spanish conquistadors, who introduced it to the court of Spain.

Cocoa, initially consumed as a bitter drink called xocolatl by the nativeswas adapted to European palates with additions such as sugar and honey.

South American countries where cocoa is grown

In South America, countries like Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Colombia, They stand out as important cocoa cultivation centers. Ecuador, in particular, is known for its fine aroma cocoa, considered one of the best in the world. Genetic studies indicate that the oldest varieties of cocoa come from the Amazon region, which is why they extend their use and cultivation along the river basins that connect these countries.

Regarding the origin of this fruit, a recent study in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that The cradle of cocoa could be specifically located in Ecuadorwhich reconfigures our understanding of its history.

Peruvian cocoa is one of the most important on the market. Photo: Peru Info

What was the first drink of the Spanish after conquering America?

The first drink that the Spanish adopted after their arrival in America was tejate, an energy drink based on corn and cocoa originally prepared by the indigenous people of Oaxaca. However, a drink derived from cocoa, such as the chocolatewas the one that definitively captured the interest of the colonizers and turned it into a luxury product in Europe.

Tejate was born in Mexico and continues to be consumed by its citizens. Photo: Corama

What are the main cocoa producers in the world?

Although cocoa originated in America, today the main producers are in West Africa, with Ivory Coast and Ghana leading the way, responsible for almost 60% of world production. This geographical change in production is due to the ideal climatic conditions that Africa offers for cocoa cultivation.

Cocoa was one of the most important products for ancient cultures. Photo: Torras

The health benefits of cocoa

Cocoa is delicious and beneficial for health. This fruit contains theobromine, an alkaloid that improves circulation and reduces blood pressure. In addition, it is rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals, which protects the body against various diseases and promotes better cardiovascular health.

In conclusion, cocoa marked the meeting between two worlds after the arrival of Christopher Columbus to America, but it has also evolved to become an essential component of the culinary and medical industries worldwide.

This fruit contains theobromine, an alkaloid that improves circulation and reduces blood pressure. Photo: Antama Foundation

The South American country is the largest cocoa exporter in the world.

Ecuador stands out in the world as one of the countries with the largest export and production of cocoa in the world. Furthermore, the nation stands out for the quality of this natural product. This information was confirmed by Michael ArrionExecutive Director of the ICCO, during the technical agenda he held with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries (MAGAP).

Ecuador maintains the third position as the largest exporter and producer of cocoa in the world. Photo: Statista

This success is largely due to government initiatives, such as the National Fine Aroma Coffee and Cocoa Reactivation Projectwhich has been running since 2012 and was responsible for delivering a total of 270,238 national cocoa plants. The project established 354 new hectares of cocoa in Zone 6, which includes the provinces of Azuay, Cañar and Morona Santiago.

The Ecuadorian economy experienced a significant boost thanks to the cocoa industry. The sector not only contributes to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but also generates employment and favors the development of agricultural communities. According to the media The universein 2023 the Ecuadorian cocoa sector closed with a total of 410,731 metric tons and more than US$1,360 million generated.

Why is cocoa known as ‘black gold’?

Cocoa is known as ‘black gold’ due to its great historical, economic and cultural value. Historically, cocoa is a prized commodity in many cultures. Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Mayans and the Aztecs, considered cocoa a gift from the gods and used it as currency and in religious ceremonies.

In economic terms, cocoa remains one of the main exports of several tropical countries. Its production and trade represent a significant source of income for countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Cocoa is fundamental to the economies of countries such as Ivory Coast, Ghana and Ecuador, where thousands of farmers depend on its cultivation for their livelihood.

Culturally, cocoa also has a profound impact. Its influence can be seen in gastronomy, traditional medicine and in the popular culture of many regions. Chocolate, which is produced from cocoa, is a product consumed and appreciated worldwide, being associated with celebrations, rituals and luxury. This combination of historical, economic and cultural value contributes to cocoa being referred to as ‘black gold’.

 
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