February 2014
The Herb Lady

Chocolate, Yum

I was 16 years old when I received my first box of chocolates from a beau - Whitman’s Sampler. I can truthfully say I was surprised. I can also say this event made me feel very special.

My younger brothers and sister helped me eat that first box of chocolates.

Cacao is an evergreen tree whose seed are used to make cocoa and chocolate. It may grow 25 feet tall. Its fruit is a melon-like pod that may be 12 inches long. The seed, imbedded in the pod, are about the size of lima beans. These trees are cultivated in Central and South America, the East and West Indies, and West Africa. The beans supply chocolate and cocoa as well as cocoa butter used in candies and medicines. These beans have also been used as money.

Cocoa is a reddish-brown powder made by grinding the kernels of the seed of the cacao tree. The cocoa is melted and pressed to remove the fat. Then it is ground and sifted into a powder.

Chocolate is the cocoa mass with the fat left in. Chocolate manufacturers receive many types of beans. They blend the beans to yield the desired flavor and color in the final product. The beans are cleaned, roasted, hulled, blended and ground. The process continues and provides us with all these wonderful goodies which make us drool.

Cacao trees were cultivated in Central America long before Columbus’s famous voyage. This is truly an American plant.

I consulted World Book for information about cacao, cocoa and chocolate. My research revealed that cacao beans contain health-providing nutrients. However, it is doubtful a single reader is going to be thinking about health when they consume chocolates.

I never received chocolates from another beau - but from this one I received many. Recently, I discussed this subject with my children.

Richard Jr. said, "I especially remember a box of light chocolates with nuts."

That was Pangburn’s All Nuts. Many of my readers will remember the era.

My siblings helped me eat that first box. My children helped me eat many more.

Love is truly "a many splendored thing." Valentines and a box of chocolates are a great way to express that love. This will also create many memories such as I have.

It will not be necessary to consult your physician before consuming this herb.

Nadine Johnson can be reached at PO Box 7425, Spanish Fort, AL 36577, by calling 866-570-7302, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..