As Giff and I drove up the arduous mountain road he recounted the mythical story of the treasure he had found not long ago.
“We were walking back from the small cacao plantation on the farm of Don Alvaro Castillo. All of a sudden I had this funny feeling I was being watched. Looking up the hill into a thick grove of lowland coffee, I saw a rabbit turn and disappear into the undergrowth.
‘What’s up there?’ I asked Alvaro. He had shrugged and continued up the path to his house, saying ‘Up there… is one old cacao tree…nothing to bother with’. A strange feeling came over me and I was compelled to head off the path and up the hill. ‘I’ll just be a minute, I think I need to check out that tree’, I called out to Alvaro.
I headed in the direction the rabbit had disappeared. As I walked through the lush forest, a huge, old cacao tree appeared. The trunk and branches had five ridges and a yellow pod that glowed in the afternoon light.”
I mulled over this story as we bounced along the dirt road. Could it be that Giff had discovered the holy grail of Meso-American cacao that day on Don Alvaro’s farm? Could it be Theobroma cacao Criollo: the original cacao of the ancient Mayan Indians, the original food of the gods, hidden in this forgotten corner of the Nicaraguan jungle?
The rabbit bringing Giff to this magical tree didn’t seem to be a coincidence. Our search continues . . .