Theobroma cacao – chocolate – is very easy to germinate as long as you have fresh seeds. Buying the entire pod is a great way to make sure the seeds are still viable as long as the pod is freshly cut off the tree. Buying individual seeds or trading for them is a little more risky. In the event the seeds you receive are dry – or dry out during shipping – they simply will not germinate. Dried seeds are good for one thing – eating.
Once you receive the pod, cut it open with a sharp knife. Make sure you do not cut too deep because there are seeds inside the pod. I gently, but firmly hold the knife so just the top edge goes in – and you will feel the difference once the knife breaks through the skin. Most pods have a skin that is about 1/4 inch thick. Once you are through the skin, position your knife so you can carefully slice around the outside of the pod. I tend to slice one side, then turn it over to slice the other side. Once the slicing is done, all you have to do is pry it open and scoop out the seeds.
I put the seeds (one seed in one folded paper towel) in a moist paper towel to germinate them. Some seeds germinate in as little as 24 hours.
Here is a video that explains the process a little more –