Page:The food of the Gods - A Popular Account of Cocoa.djvu/176

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SOUTH AMERICAN SUPPLY.

cacao as long as sugar realized high prices, but in comparatively recent years it has been more extensively planted, and the crops from the lowlands at the mouths of the great South American rivers have been very heavy.

In French Guiana cacao was scarcely cultivated until about 1734, when a forest of it was discovered on a branch of the Yari, which flows into the Amazon. From this forest seeds were gathered, and plantations were laid out in Cayenne.

The cacao of Pará in Brazil differs from all other growths; the bean is much smaller and rounder, and is elongated, but when well cured it is mild, and has a very pleasant flavour, highly valued by manufacturers. Bahia produces large quantities of cacao, formerly of an inferior quality, owing to careless cultivation and indiscriminate mixing of all that was brought from the interior, some of it wild and uncured. But now this state of things is being improved, and the good quality of "fermented" Bahian cacao is fully recognised.

A little cacao is grown in the low-lying parts