Ark of taste
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Macambo (Theobroma bicolor) is a fruit from the cocoa family, native to the Amazon region between Peru and Colombia. It is possible to find this plant in particular in the Loreto Department of the Peruvian forest. The ideal habitat for its growth calls for a temperature between 25 and 28 degrees C, high levels of rainfall and altitudes no higher than 1,000 meters above sea level. This plant is able to adapt to soil that is not particularly fertile and is usually cultivated in agro-forest systems that are cross-cultivated with copoazú, anona, zapote, caimito, casho and aguaje. The macambo tree can reach heights of 25 – 30 meters tall in the wild, but when cultivated its dimensions are reduced. The production of fruit begins in the third year after the trees are planted, and roughly 30 fruits weighing on average 1 kg are produced each year. The best time for harvest is between March and May, even though there is another harvest that takes place between July and August.

Though there are no defined varieties of this fruit, the indigenous people of the Amazon distinguish between two principle types: rough and smooth. The first is larger and has a harder rind which helps the fruit stay undamaged when it falls from the tree, while the second is smaller and more fragile. Both have an elongated form and a color that varies from green to yellow depending on how ripe they are.

The inside of the fruit is made up of oval seeds covered in a dense, fibrous and juicy substance that is sweet and sour and consumed either as-is or used to make juices. The seeds are used to prepare desserts, a drink that is similar to hot chocolate, or they are roasted. In the markets of Iquitos and Nauta it is normal to eat skewered roasted macambo seeds, an important source of calories and minerals for the locals.
The pulp is eaten fresh, in fruit juices and desserts, while it is also used to make chocolate. Another typical dish is macambo and chancaca nougat, made by mixing the roasted seeds with water and chancaca (a product made with sugar cane juice).
This product, barely known or sold outside of the area where it is produced, is at risk of extinction due to deforestation and climate change.

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San Martin

Production area:San Roque (Iquitos)