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Reading comprehension

Read the passage. Then answer the questions below.

Where does chocolate come from? Believe it or not, it grows on trees. Not as a
sweet chocolatecandy bar wrapped in foil, but as a cocoa bean.These cocoa
beans grow on a cacao tree, which is found in tropical areas such as Central
andSouth America. The fruit of these trees are called pods, and they are long
and hard. Inside the pods is asoft, white pulp that surrounds the thirty or so
seeds. These seeds are what we call cocoa beans. Theyare very hard and bitter
to the taste.To make chocolate, people start by carefully taking the beans out of
the pods, still covered in thewhite pulp, and leaving them in a bucket. The
bucket is often covered with banana leaves and left for anywhere from a few
days to a few weeks. This process is called fermenting. Then the beans are left
todry in the sun. Fermenting and drying the beans makes them less bitter. Then
the beans are shipped to afactory to be turned into chocolate. At the factory,
beans are roasted in ovens to bring out their flavor. After roasting, the
outer covering of the bean is removed. The inner bean is then crushed to form a
paste known as chocolateliquor.From this paste, people can either make cocoa
powder or the chocolate we buy in stores. Tomake cocoa powder, the paste is
crushed and pressed repeatedly to remove the fat, leaving behind onlya dry,
ground powder. To make chocolate, people need to add other ingredients to the
paste such asmilk, sugar, and cocoa butter. They then mix and heat the
concoction several times to create a substancewe would recognize as
chocolate. It may even have fruit, nuts, or candy added to it before it is
moldedinto a shape.Considering all that must happen to turn a bitter cocoa
bean into a chocolate bar, a dollar seemslike a small price to pay for such a
delicious sweet treat.

To make chocolate, what is the first thing people must do to the cocoa
beans? A. leave them in a
bucketB. roast them in an ovenC. dry them in the sunD. ship them to the factory
After reading this passage, what can the reader conclude about
chocolate? A. Chocolate is only made in Central and
South America.B. People could make their own chocolate at home.C. There
are many steps involved in making chocolate.D. It is too expensive to
make chocolate.

Chocolate - A Reading with

Comprehension Questions
Emma de Dios Álvarez
dediose [at]
University of Valladolid (Valladolid, Spain)

Chocolate originated in Mexico with the Aztec Indians and came to Spain
through the Spanish conquistadors. Christopher Columbus encountered cocoa
beans for the first time in 1502.

The Aztecs used cocoa beans to make a bitter, foamy beverage called
tchocolatl, which was drunk during religious celebrations. The Spaniards weren't
fond of tchocolatl, but that didn't stop them from shipping the beans back home.
Charles I received a shipment in 1525. Spain held a monopoly over the cocoa
trade for about a hundred years.

Although cocoa arrived in Italy in the late 16th century, it didn't really become a
trend outside of Spain until 1615, when Louis XIII married Anne of Austria, the
daughter of King Philip III of Spain. Chocolate was served at their wedding in
Paris, and soon after that, it became a favorite drink for French aristocrats.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, chocolate was the most
popular drink in Spain. Popular foods at the time were sponge cake, marzipan,
turr�n, and crystallised fruits. Richard Ford in Gatherings From Spain said that
chocolate "is for the Spanish what tea is for the English and coffee for the
French. It is found nearly everywhere and is always excellent."

Today, Spain is a major producer of chocolate, with 50 large manufacturers and

countless small-scale producers. The quality of Spanish chocolate is still
excellent. However, chocolate products are not widely marketed outside of the

1. Where was chocolate initially used?

2. How did the Aztecs name it?
3. Did Spanish like this beverage?
4. How many years did the Spanish monopoly of chocolate last?
5. When did the chocolate catch on in other countries?
6. What other types of food were popular in Spain during the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries?
7. How did Richard Ford describe chocolate?
8. What do you think Gatherings From Spain is?
9. How does the writer describe Spanish chocolate?
10. Is Spanish chocolate massively marketed outside the country?