Do you love chocolates and looking for trivia about it? Well, here are some chocolate fun facts that will definitely make you happy.
Chocolate is already a part of our lives. The bitter, creamy, and flavorful aroma is something that we always look after.
Aside from eating this, here are some fun things about chocolates that will shoot up your happy hormones.
Chocolates Come from a Seed of a Delicious Fruit
Cocoas are tropical small evergreen trees. They bear an elongated but pointed fruit containing the seeds that are processed into chocolates. These seeds are actually covered with a pulpy and cottony flesh that is sweet and delicious.
Chocolates Dated as Early as 4o0 BC
The Olmecs of southern Mexico were the first people to consume chocolates and cultivated cacao plants. Olmec pots and vessels were discovered containing traces of theobromine, which is a compound found in cacao.
Historians are sure that the Olmecs passed their cacao knowledge on to the Mayans of Central America. According to artifacts and anecdotes, the Mayan drink hot chocolate, which was made from fermented cacao beans, honey, and spices for celebrations.
Chocolates as Currency
Mayans believed that cacao trees and chocolate are a gift from the Gods. However, they are so valued many used this as a form of currency.
Joanne Baron, an archaeologist with the Bard Early College Network, documented at least 180 scenes of ceramics and murals from about 691 C.E. through 900 C.E., showing commodities delivered to Maya Leaders as a gift or tax payment.
Usually, the Mayans gave tobacco and maize as gifts or tax payments. However, archaeologists found cloth and bags with a hefty amount of dried cacao beans. Baron also noted that the Maya kings collected cloth and cacao seeds more than the palace consume so they are probably used to pay workers.
Thanks, Christopher Columbus!
Our brains, hearts, and hormones would like to pay tribute to Mr. Christopher Columbus, the very first significant personality for the international recognition of cacao seeds.
According to historians, Columbus first brought cacao seed to Europe from his fourth visit to the “New World” between 1502 and 1504. However, since there were exciting treasures he brought along, people ignored the seeds.
Don Hernán Cortés, a fellow explorer, was the first to realize the commercial value of the cacao seeds. He brought the beans back in 1528 along with chocolate processors and equipment. Then the rest is history.
London Chocolates and Slavery
The trend of drinking chocolate reached London 1650s. However, because of high import duties, only rich people can afford them.
Gradually, it became freely available, which prompted the first Chocolate House in 1657. Soon after, establishments opened offering the drink that brought the prices much lower. The competition also paved a way for chocolate variants.
Unfortunately, because of lower import duties, demand, and competition, chocolate plantations were established throughout Europe. Thousands of slaves were purchased to meet the need.
Chocolates in the American Colonies
In 1641, Spanish ships brought the first chocolate in America. By the year 1773, cocoa beans were a major product of American colonies, making the drink available for all Americans.
During the revolutionary war, American soldiers received chocolates as ration and sometimes given as payment instead of money.
In 1828, a Dutch chemist named Coenraad Johannes Van Houten discovered a way to treat cocoa beans with the use of alkaline salt to make them powdered. Many welcomed the result because it’s much easier to mix it with water.
Van Houten supposedly also invented the cocoa press, although later reports said his father invented the machine. This process separated the expensive cocoa butter from the beans, which will leave powder.
The cocoa powder paved a way to chocolate’s worldwide recognition. It opened the doors for mass production and importation.
World’s Largest Cocoa Producers
Côte d’Ivoire is the largest producer of cocoa with a total crop of 1,448,992 tonnes, which is 30% of the world’s total cocoa supply. Nestle and Cadbury receive most of their supplies from the Ivory Coast.
Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Cameroon completed the top 5 cocoa-producing countries.
Though the crop is a big industry, most of the farmers from the said territories suffered from poverty. Child labor is also a big issue, especially in the Ivory Coast.
World’s Biggest Consumers
Switzerland is one of the biggest producers of processed chocolates around the world. However, it appears that its citizens can’t get enough of what they produce.
In 2017, Switzerland is the leading country in chocolate consumption per capita, with each citizen eating nearly nine kilos of chocolates in the same year.
Austria, Germany, Ireland and Great Britain followed with 8.1, 7.9, 7.9, and 7.6 kilos of chocolate consumption per citizen in the year 2017.
The Most Expensive
Wispa Gold, which is made by Cadbury in 2009, is the most expensive bar of chocolate ever produced.
Yes, you can take the name from itself. Cadbury coated Wispa Gold with Gold, which is also same as the wrapper. Spandau Ballet lead singer Tony Hadley brought the bar or gold, I mean, chocolate to the Selfridges luxurious Wonder Room on a velvet pillow, escorted by security.
Later, the bar was donated to Hadley’s favorite charity UK Lowe Syndrome Trust, which funds the research for rare diseases that affect children.
Pure Nacional, which is discovered in 1600, once dominated the chocolate market. However, in 1916, a disease hit it and people and experts thought it vanished.
Then, scientists rediscovered it in Peru. Experts tested 4th USDA genetic sample, which proven that it is indeed the legendary Pure Nacional.
Many people love it because of its fruity and flowery flavor with mild kicks of bitterness.
Other Chocolate Fun Facts
- Cacao trees can live up to 200 years.
- It takes 400 cocoa beans to make a pound of chocolate.
- Chocolates are considered as “happy food” because it releases serotonin, which is known to regulate mood.
- Dark Chocolate can actually help you lose weight because of the substance called monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), a plant-based fat that will help you speed up your metabolism.
- Cadbury made the first chocolate bar in 1842 while a swiss chocolate enthusiast Daniel Peter invented white chocolate. He spent 8 years to make his recipe.
- Chocolate melts at around 93° F, just below human temperature. That’s why they melt in your mouth.