Cacao is a type of evergreen tree, which has been known on The Land since the time of Connor and Brigid. While it was originally cultivated in First Village, it has become more commonly grown in the East Isles and Ristar, and to a lesser extent, Woodstockade. (Cacao is also said to exist on every inhabited planet in the Universe.) Its fruit, called cacao pods, contain seeds which are referred to as "cocoa beans." (It has never been explained to Landians why the name was transposed in this way.) The beans and surrounding pulp are fermented, then the beans are dried, and ground into a paste, which is then separated into "cocoa powder" and "cocoa butter." (The fermented pulp may be used to produce a liquor.) Cocoa powder may be used in baking, or mixed into heated milk or water, along with sugar, to make a drink called "hot chocolate" or "hot cocoa." Cocoa butter, along with milk, sugar, and possibly also cocoa powder, is used to produce a candy called "chocolate." There is also a beverage called "xocolatl," which is made from cocoa powder, water, cayenne powder, and sometimes corn powder. xocolatl may also be made in solid candy form, using cocoa butter instead of or in addition to cocoa powder. Sugar and milk are sometimes added, but usually not; if they are, the product is not considered true xocolatl, but rather spiced chocolate. Chocolate is also a popular flavor of ice cream, and an ingredient in various candies and other desserts and snacks, such as s'mores.
Both chocolate (sweet) and xocolatl (spicy) are popular foods and beverages, on the Land as they are on Earth. Not only are they considered delicious, they also contain chemical compounds which are known to have an effect on the body's chemistry, which positively affects the mood. It is therefore common not only to eat or drink as a special treat for oneself, but also to share with those one desires to make happy, including friends, family, and romantic partners. While chocolate and xocolatl may be consumed fairly often, many people save it for special occasions, such as birthdays or holidays; or for any purposes of celebration when already happy, or consolation when sad. However, it's important not to overindulge, especially in consumption of chocolate, which may lead to both tooth decay and excessive weight gain.