Happy World Chocolate Day! Some like it dark and bitter, others smooth and sweet, but we all love to indulge in this sweet treat.
The celebration marks the day when chocolate was first brought to Europe on July 7, 1550.
However, it was known and used in Mexico and Central America before it arrived in Europe.
Aztec emperor Montezuma, in 1519, served a chocolate-based drink called ‘Xocolātl’ to Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés. He then took the drink back to Spain and experimented with it by adding vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar to improve the taste. Post this improvisation, in the 1600s, the drink became popular in France as well as England. However, solid chocolates were created in the 1800s.
As the German scientist, Justus von Liebig once said: “Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power…it is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits.”
In celebration of this delicious World Chocolate Day, on 7 July, here are some fun and interesting facts about chocolate:
- It takes 400 cocoa beans to make one pound of chocolate.
- Each cacao tree produces approximately 2,500 beans.
- Switzerland invented milk chocolate, the first bar was created by Daniel Peter in 1875.
- Research to date supports that chocolate can be enjoyed as part of a balanced, heart-healthy diet and lifestyle.
- The average serving of milk chocolate has about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of decaf coffee.
- White chocolate is not real chocolate, it is made using cream or other dairy products and sugar.
- Although Cocoa beans originated in the Amazon, nowadays almost 70% of the world’s production is in Africa.
- Because cacao trees are so delicate, farmers lose, on average, 30%of their crop each year.
- Studies have demonstrated that one of the major saturated fats in chocolate does not raise cholesterol like other hard fats–meaning chocolate can be enjoyed in moderation.
- Chocolate comes from a fruit tree; it’s made from a seed.
- Theobroma Cacao is the tree that produces cocoa beans, and it means “food of the gods.” Carolus Linnaeus, the father of plant taxonomy, named it.