On the 7th of July, the world celebrates the chocolate day. Chocolate comes from a fruit tree, Theobroma Cacao. The cocoa beans are the seeds of the fruits. Cacao or cocoa tree takes five years to produce its first beans. Carolus Linnaeus, the father of plant taxonomy named cocoa which means “food of the gods.”
It takes 400 cocoa beans to make one pound of chocolate and one cocoa tree produces approximately 2,500 beans. There are about 600 flavours of chocolate which is more than red wine. The English chocolate company Cadbury introduced the first chocolate bar in the world in 1842. Now as you’ve learned the basic facts, here are 10 Fun Facts About Chocolate that you probably didn’t know.
1. Chocolate’s Aroma Compounds:
Chocolate’s butter is not only fatty but is also loaded with 600 aroma molecules. The aromas smell nothing like chocolate but more like potato chips, cooked meat, and peaches. Chocolate also has a special melting point and it is the only edible substance to have this quality. It melts around 93° F, below the human body temperature.
That is not only the amazing thing about chocolate though. Chocolate also had a great influence behind the invention of Microwave. Percy Spence who invented microwaves was a big fan of chocolates. And he was inspired by the magnetrons, a formidable device. He realised he can use the device to heat up food when his chocolate melted near the device.
2. Chocolate was used as money:
Mesoamericans used chocolate as a currency, back then it was more valuable than gold dust. In Mayan times and Aztecs times, chocolate was more valuable because the cultivation of the beans was restricted. Hot chocolate, the first chocolate treat, was also consumed in that time.
The Aztecs and the Mexicans used to love the bitter taste of chocolate. Now, most of the cocoa farming is done in Africa. In West Africa, there are more than 1.5 million cacao farms, one farm being 4 hectares on average. Ivory Coast in West Africa is the largest cocoa producer, producing 30-40% of all production worldwide.
3. White chocolate isn’t real chocolate:
Most chocolate lovers would know this, but if you didn’t, here it is, white chocolate isn’t real chocolate. White chocolate doesn’t consist of cocoa solids or cocoa liquor but cocoa butter. It has 20 per cent cocoa butter, 14 per cent milk solids, 3.5 per cent milk fat and less than 55 per cent sugar.
This is not the only lie though, German chocolate isn’t actually German either. A man named Sam German came up with a recipe for dark baking chocolate bars in the mid-19th century. Everyone was so impressed by the Baker Chocolate Company employee that they named it after him. Also, that chocolate candy bars have less than 10 milligrams of caffeine.
4. Europeans love chocolate:
According to the International Cocoa Organization, almost half the world’s chocolate is consumed by Europeans. Brit, Swiss, or German eat an estimated 11kg of chocolate a year. It is also said that Maries Antoinette loved hot chocolate which was frequently served at the Palace of Versailles. They believed it to be an aphrodisiac. She wasn’t the only one though. Napolean also frequently demanded wine and chocolate, even during his intense military campaigns.
5. World’s largest chocolate bar & the most expensive chocolate bar :
Thorntons created the world’s largest chocolate bar on its 100th birthday. It weighed a record-breaking 5,792.50kg. The World’s Most Expensive Chocolate Bar, the Wispa Gold Wrapped Bar was created by Cadbury. It was a marketing plan to launch their brand of caramel chocolate bars. The expensive chocolate was wrapped in an edible gold leaf costing $1,430 per bar.
The milk chocolate, however, was invented by a man named Daniel Peter in 1875. And solid chocolate was invented by The Fry and Sons shop in Britain in 1847.
6. The chocolate chip cookie was an accident:
Ruth Wakefield accidentally created the chocolate chip cookie in 1930 when she ran out of baker’s chocolate and mixed a broken piece of Nestle chocolate into her cookie dough. Allegedly, Wakefield sold the recipe to Nestle Toll House and earned a lifetime supply of chocolate in return.
The Mocha Frappuccino, however, might have been invented by the great-great-grandfather of John Montagu. Sir Edward Montagu was reportedly a chocoholic. And a 350-year-old recipe was found written by him in 2013. Other famous like M&Ms were created so soldiers can enjoy chocolate without it melting and Nutella was invented when an Italian pastry maker mixed hazelnuts into chocolate.
7. You can die if you eat too much chocolate:
In the 17th century in Mexico, a Spanish Bishop was killed by chocolate. Actually, the chocolate was poisoned. But death can occur because of too much consumption of chocolate. There is a powerful stimulant called Theobromine in chocolate, which is not only dangerous for animals including dogs and cats but also humans.
It can cause heart failure, seizures, acute kidney damage and dehydration. A dose of 10 kilograms of chocolate can be lethal. And sugar-free chocolate acts like Ex-Lax will make you take a more than a few trips to the bathroom. Around 1400 to 1100 B.C. people even used chocolate to make an alcoholic drink.
8. The Benefits:
Chocolate consumption has many benefits. There are even studies that link consuming chocolate to winning the Nobel prize. Chocolate includes tryptophan and other chemicals that improve our moods and make us feel happy. Pure chocolate can also ward off tooth decay. It contains a chemical called phenylethylamine which releases certain “pleasure” endorphins in the brain giving us a similar feeling to falling in love.
There was a time when the chocolate syrup was used as a medicine. Even the smell of chocolate triggers brain waves and relaxation. Dark chocolate has so many health benefits from being good for the heart to improving blood flow to being a great source of antioxidants to improving brain function.
9. Cocoa trees can live up to 200 years:
Native to Mexico and Central and South America, Cacaos are two kinds, forastero beans and crillo beans. Cacao trees can live for 200 years. The ancient Mayas are believed to be the first people to regularly grow cacao trees and drink chocolate. Although, the word ‘chocolate’ comes from the Aztec word “xocoatl”.
10. Crisps dipped in chocolate exist:
Lay’s sold crisps dipped in a layer of milk chocolate in America for a limited time. The chocolate river in the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory film was also real. It was made from 15,000 gallons of water mixed with chocolate and cream. There is also a fourth kind of rare chocolate apart from the classic milk, dark, and white varieties, called blond chocolate. And another fun fact, if all the Toblerone bars sold each year were to be laid end to end, they would go on for 62,000km which is longer than the circumference of the Earth.