Today on the tray: Cocoa and Coco

December 12 is National Cocoa Day.


hot cocoaCocoa (the dried, fully fermented seeds of the cacao tree) is the basis for cocoa powder, which is used to make the hot cocoa beverage we all know and love.

Cacao trees are grown all over the world, but it is believed that the first cacao trees grew in South America. Cocoa is similar to wine in that its flavor differs depending on the location where it is grown. It’s a good thing that cacao trees are plentiful because approximately 300 to 600 cocoa beans are needed to make just two pounds of chocolate!

Erica Gimpel as Coco
Erica Gimpel as Coco Hernandez

We all know that delicious, chocolatey flavor is responsible for cocoa’s fame. But who is responsible for Fame’s Coco? Well, that depends on whether you are talking about the film or the TV series. Irene Cara played Coco in the 1980 movie Fame. In the TV series, the part was played by Erica Gimpel.

Here’s Coco (Gimpel) in the first episode of the TV series singing the theme song while the entire school dances. Baby, remember her name!

Coco (Erica Gimpel) sings “Fame” in the first episode of Fame (Jan. 7, 1982)

Now that we’ve heard a song sung by Fame’s Coco, how about one sung by James Coco? Here he is on The Muppet Show singing “Short People.”

James Coco sings “Short People,” The Muppet Show (Oct. 7, 1978)

So whether you are short or tall, have a happy National Cocoa (Coco) Day!



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