Hainan Mirror: The Story of Hainan Cocoa

By / HIMC / Updated: 19:41,17-January-2023

Editor's note:

“Hainan is a treasure you will fall in love with!” The spirited land of Hainan has unique geographical, natural, historical, and climate conditions that have forged an island culture completely unlike that of any other place on the planet. Hainan Mirror is a short video program that takes an in-depth look at one object, one person, or one focal point, highlighting Hainan’s culture and illuminating the details of the ongoing development of the Hainan Free Trade Port.
Each season of the program focuses on a different theme, such as national treasure, cultural roots, and more, with nature's gifts as the theme of the first season of Hainan Mirror. For the first time, the Editor-in-Chief of Hainan Weekly is coming out from behind the scenes to tell you about the incredible scenery that lies behind every Hainan story. Where did Hainan’s first coffee tree come from? How has Hainan’s chocolate stunned the world? How do Hainan’s coconuts look so plain but contain so much? Hainan’s pandan, camilla, and Wuzhishan large-leaf teas....

The cocoa tree has put down roots and begun to flourish in Hainan over the last 70 years. Today, our editor will take you on a journey of exploration into the life history of Hainan cocoa. Orange, yellow, brown, green.... colorful oval cocoa fruits hang from the tree trunks. From a distance, the cocoa tree looks like it is growing a rainbow. This tree is quite sensitive though. If you accidentally bump one of its flowers, that spot may not bear fruit next year.

If you open up a fresh-picked cocoa fruit, you will find that it tastes a bit like a mangosteen. The seeds are actually cocoa beans, the raw material used to make the chocolate, candy, cakes, and ice cream that people around the world all love to eat. Cocoa can be traced back to the South American Amazon Plains region 2,000 years ago, where the ancient Mayan people used it to make drinks and as a form of currency. When the era of maritime navigation arrived, Columbus came to South America and brought cocoa back to Europe. From there, these sweet beans soon traveled across the entire globe.

Hainan has a special relationship with cocoa. The island province is one of the main cocoa producing regions of China, and boasts over 6.6 km² of land under cocoa cultivation. In the 1950s, overseas Chinese brought a few cocoa beans from Southeast Asia to Hainan and planted them in the Xinglong Overseas Chinese Farm in Wanning. That’s how the story of cocoa in Hainan began.

These days, lots of people travel quite long distances to the Xinglong Botanical Gardens just to see the incredible sight of the cocoa trees that grow here. Hainan cocoa is not only popular in China. It has also attracted global interest for both its commercial and ornamental value. The future of Hainan cocoa is looking very sweet indeed, as the story of this incredible tree continues to unfold. We can’t wait for the next chapter!



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