Cocoa, highly concentrated powder made from chocolate liquor—a paste prepared from cocoa beans, the fruit of the cacao—and used in beverages and as a flavouring ingredient. Cocoa is the key ingredient in chocolate and chocolate confections.
The cocoa bean is the seed of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), a tropical plant indigenous to the equatorial regions of the Americas. From the processed cocoa bean comes the fluid paste, or liquor, from which cocoa powder and chocolate are made. Chocolate is sold directly to the consumer as solid bars of eating chocolate, as packaged cocoa, and as baking chocolate. It is also used by confectioners as coating for candy bars and boxed or bulk chocolates, by bakery product manufacturers and bakers as coating for many types of cookies and cakes, and by ice-cream companies as coating for frozen novelties. Cocoa powders, chocolate liquor, and blends of the two are used in bulk to flavour various food products and to provide the flavours in such “chocolate” products as syrups, toppings, chocolate milk, prepared cake mixes, and pharmaceuticals.