A Thought of Chocolate
To bake an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe.
And so it is with chocolate.
So the chronicle of chocolate origin begins.
This tale - as they say in Hollywood - is based on a true story.
Before the Beginning of Time
Narrator: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Now that was not just any word, that was every word. Every thought.
And one of those original thoughts was a thought of chocolate.
Five Billion Years Ago
Every heavier atom in our bodies - and in our chocolate bars - was literally forged in the hundred-billion-degree furnace of an exploding star.
On a warm Thursday afternoon some five billion years ago, one such star exploded. About thirty billion trillion miles from here. Doing so, it threw countless trillions of subatomic particles into space at nearly the speed of light.
One of those particles - let's call him Fred - was thrown toward where Earth would later be. The first step toward chocolate origin on Earth.
Four and a Half Billion Years Ago
A slightly denser region of galactic dust and gas pulls itself together by gravity and forms our sun.
A little later, some of the residual dust and gas orbiting our sun pulls itself together - by gravity - and forms the Earth.
A little later, another planet nearly the size of Mars collides with Earth. Debris from the collision settles into orbit around Earth, eventually becoming our moon.
Fred continues toward Earth at 600 million miles an hour.
230 Million Years Ago
The first dinosaur lived. Most of earth was covered in jungle, made up of ferns, evergreens, and a wide variety of other plants. None with flowers.
On the whole Earth, there was not one flower.
130 Million Years Ago
The first flowering plant appeared. The ancestor of every flowering plant, including the chocolate tree.
Fred had covered 97.4% of the distance to Earth, but was still 900 million trillion miles away.
65 Million Years Ago
The last dinosaur expired.
Flowers were really on a growth spurt.
Quite Some Time Later
Fred had been flying uneventfully through empty space for five billion years.
Flowering plants were everywhere. And insects. Some of the insects developed a partnership (symbiosis) with plants. The insects got food (nectar) from the flowers. And the plants got their pollen transported.
Over in Africa, a species of ape had figured out how to build stone axes.
In Central America, a tree had evolved which was almost a cacao tree, but not quite.
Early one morning - I believe it was a Wednesday - Fred slammed into the top of Earth's atmosphere at eight hundred thousand times the speed of sound. He bounced off nitrogen and oxygen atoms high in the sky, creating a cascade of high-energy particles showering toward Earth.
A very short time later, one of those particles hit our almost cocoa tree. Right in the DNA. Changing one tiny bit of the code that DNA uses to build a tree. And changing (mutating) our almost cocoa tree into the first real cocoa tree.
No one will ever know exactly how accurate this narrative is but, as I said, it is based on actual events.