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Chocolate figures into the lives of people worldwide in various ways. For some, perpetuating a chocolate tradition is as simple as buying a heart-shaped box of truffles for their special someone each year on Valentine’s Day.

Others carry out modern versions of the customs of their ancestors, honoring rituals forged thousands of years ago. Still others continue to use chocolate as medicine, as their forebears have done.

For people who live in cocoa farming communities, chocolate feeds the body as much as the soul—it influences the tasks they do every day and provides a key source of income to feed their families.

Collecting pods. Courtesy of International Cocoa Initiative.
Get a taste of this section:

  • Cultural Importance: What customs surround chocolate today? 
  • Family Life: What is life like on a cocoa farm? 
  • Economics: How is cocoa improving families’ standard of living?
  • Sustainability: See what chocolate companies are doing to encourage sustainable cocoa farming.

Did You Know?
In November, Germans celebrate St. Martin—a knight who shared his cloak with a beggar—with a lantern-lit parade, sweets and steaming hot chocolate.
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