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  • I lived for 7 months with a mountain community of chocolate farmers In Sulawesi, and it completely ruined me for chocolate.

    Impossible? Hardly.

    I spent so many hours with it. When the fruits are harvested, they seem innocent enough. They resemble large bean pods. Green before ripened, yellow when they are ready to be chucked from the trees. The cocoa pods are then piled on a tarp in the middle of the family garden. A few people gather round and prepare for some rather dirty work.

    We cut open the fruit to reveal what can only be described as slime nuggets. The air becomes rancid. It smells of vinegar and cocoa. Bile. Not at all appetizing. We thrust our hands into the pile in an attempt to remove the pod membrane and other debris. It feels like brains. It feels like running your hands through intestines. Soupy and sour. After awhile, your hands are stained a deep chocolate brown. The pods themselves remain an unsettling cream color.

    The result of this process is eventually laid to dry in the sun. A day later, the pods are as dry and brown as your hands. The smell is divine.

    I never met a single person on the mountain that enjoyed eating chocolate. They all hated it.

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