The story of chocolate, as
far back as we know it, begins more than 2000 years
ago in equatorial Central America where the Mayan
Indians held cocoa beans in high regard. Images of
cocoa pods were carved into the walls of their elaborate
stone temples, and Mayan writings refer to cacao
as "food of the gods." It
was the Mayans who first created a beverage from
crushed cocoa beans, which was enjoyed by royalty
and shared at sacred ceremonies. (http://www.chocolateusa.org/)
A 1.5-ounce milk chocolate bar contains recommended
daily values of the following vitamins and minerals: - 3
grams of protein
- 15% of the Daily Value of riboflavin
- 9% of the Daily Value for calcium
- 7% of the Daily Value for iron
Chocolate contains essential trace elements and
nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium, and
vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E. Cocoa is also the highest
natural source for Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency
is linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes,
joint problems and pre-menstrual tension (PMT or
Chocolate contains small
amounts of a chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA),
which is a mild mood elevator. It’s the same chemical that our brain produces
when we feel happy or “in love.” The
mild “rush” we get from this substance
may be why some people say they’re “addicted” to
The carbohydrates present in chocolate can raise
serotonin levels in the brain and lead to a feeling
Chocolate does contain caffeine,
but only a small amount. The average serving of chocolate
has less caffeine than a cup of decaffeinated coffee.
So it's fine to eat chocolate anytime during the
day or night. (http://www.chocolateusa.org/)
Recent research has shown that chocolate milk is
as good or better than products like Gatorade and
Endurox R4 when it comes to replacing
fluids and carbohydrates. (http://www.chocolateusa.org/)
Some people claim that drinking a cup of hot chocolate
before a meal actually diminishes
One researcher at the Aromocology Patch Co. Ltd.
even experimented with helping patients lose weight
by having them sniff a chocolate-scented patch whenever
they were tempted to snack!
Generally, dark and bittersweet chocolates go best
with strong red wines (although there are exceptions),
while milk and white chocolates are best when paired
with lighter red and sweeter white wines.
According to Murray Langham, a New Zealand psychotherapist
and author of the book Chocolate Therapy: Dare To
Discover Your Inner Self, the choice of a chocolate's
shape and filling, as well as how its wrapping is
disposed of, reveals much about people's personality
traits and moods. Milk chocolate lovers, for example,
tend to be innocent people who like to live in the
past. Fans of dark chocolate, on the other hand,
are materialistic, problem solvers who are excited
by the future. White chocolate aficionados have an
innate sense of fairness and believe they have the
power of the universe at their command.
Once upon a time, money did
grow on trees. Cocoa
beans were used as currency by the Mayan and Aztec
civilizations over 1400 years ago. When they had
too much money to spend, they brewed the excess into
hot chocolate drinks.
consume more chocolate per capita than
any other nation on earth. That's 22
compared to 11 pounds per person in the United States.
Chocolate is America's
favorite flavor. A recent
survey revealed that 52 percent of U.S. adults said
they like chocolate best. The second favorite flavor
was a tie (at 12 percent each) between berry flavors
U.S. chocolate manufacturers currently use 40
percent of the almonds produced in the United States and
25 percent of domestic peanuts.
U.S. chocolate manufacturers
use about 3.5 million pounds
of whole milk every
day to make chocolate.
Sixty-five percent of American
chocolate eaters prefer milk chocolate.
The largest chocolate bar ever manufactured weighed
5,026 lbs. and was exhibited by Elah-Dufour United
Food Companies at Eurochocolate in Turin, Italy in
The largest box of chocolates ever made was a Frango
mint chocolates box weighing 3,226 lbs. created by
Marshall Field's, Chicago, Illinois, USA on November
14, 2002. The box contained 90,090 individual chocolates.
On April 4, 1996, the Rotary Club of Piet Retief,
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, made a chocolate and
marshamallow Easter egg which was just over 25-ft
high. The egg weighed 8,968 lbs. and was supported
by an internal steel frame.
The Northwest Fudge Factory in Ontario, Canada,
created a slab of fudge that weighed 2,002 lbs, making
it the record-holding largest slab of fudge. The
chocolate-and-vanilla-swirl fudge measured 166 ft.
long, 9 in. wide and 3 in. high. The fudge took a
total of 86 hours to prepare and 13 individuals to
pour it into shape.
The price of chocolate varies
greatly from inexpensive candy bars to pricey truffles.
Like wine, the price varies depending on the processing
and quality of the original ingredients (a chocolate
made from high quality cacao beans and other ingredients,
with a greater percentage of cocoa butter, with more
extensive refining during manufacture) and the amount
of fine hand work needed to fashion the chocolate
into a confection.
Issue of Chocolatier Magazine)
Chocolate's aroma, its
ability to create "taste
memories" and its indescribably rich flavor all
combine to make it a food most people cannot resist.
But at the same time cannot fully explain. And why
(March 2000 Issue
of Chocolatier Magazine)
Cortez introduced chocolate to his country where
it remained a Spanish secret
for nearly 100 years.
Here it was sweetened, flavored with cinnamon and
vanilla and served hot as a refreshing beverage.
In 1657 a Frenchman opened the first
Chocolate Shop in London selling solid chocolate used to be
made into the satisfying beverage. It was so pricey
at this time only the very wealthy could afford it...
Chocolate is a great economy
booster. Annual world consumption of cocoa beans
averages approximately 600,000 tons per year. Consumers
worldwide spend more than $20 billion a year
The seed pods of the cacao tree grow not on branches
but directly on the trunk.
Each pod is about the size
of a pineapple and holds thirty to fifty seeds – enough
to make about seven milk chocolate or two
dark chocolate bars.
Cacao flowers are pollinated by midges, tiny flies
that live in the rotting leaves and other debris
that fall to the forest floor at the base of the
tree. Those midges have the fastest wingbeats in
the world: 1,000 times per second!
It takes 4
cacao seeds to make 1 ounce of milk chocolate, and 12
seeds to make 1 ounce of dark chocolate.
Cacao is notrelated to the coconut palm or to
the coca plant, the source of cocaine.
Africa now provides over
half the world’s cacao,
while Mexico now provides only 1.5%.
long been heralded for its value as an energy source.
Think of it this way: a single chocolate chip provides
sufficient food energy for an adult to walk 150
feet; hence, it would take about 35 chocolate chips
to go a mile, or 875,000 for an around-the-world
Ten percent of U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of
iron is found in one ounce of baking chocolate or cocoa.