Bacao (Theobroma bicolor) is a fruit of the cacao family which grows in bunches. The tree grows to between 15 and 20 meters in height. The fruit is around 30 centimeters long and around 12 centimeters wide. It is grown in level and fertile soils, and has large leaves and tiny flowers, which hang from the branches. The outer part of the fruit is oval in shape and the skin is grooved and cracked. The yellowish flesh, which contains numerous round seeds, has a pleasant fruity aroma.
It is grown in the Quibdó region and is an important part of local food heritage. It is eaten mainly by the section of the population descended from the African and indigenous communities. It is grown mainly in private gardens, together with other fruit trees that provide shade, and it is traditionally eaten at home, as it is, by adults and children alike. The seeds are used to make flour, which is then used to prepare juice, jam, drinks and to extract a fatty condiment that is used for cooking.
As it mainly grows wild, large crops are not grown. However, in local food culture bacao is the perfect fruit for a snack outdoors which all the family can enjoy. It can be found in various regions of Chocó but predominantly in the municipality of Quibdó, where it has always been freely grown and eaten. As it has no commercial value, it is grown only in small quantities for family consumption and is hard to find on sale.
This product is at risk of disappearing because it has become less popular, as young people and children prefer industrially-made snacks to this traditional product, which many associate with a lifestyle which younger generations seek to distance themselves from once they have finished school. For that reason, bacao is mainly eaten by adults and elderly people who, as they eat it, remember the flavor of pleasant experiences and past memories, associated with childhood and family life.Back to the archive >