10 Things You Never Knew About Chocolate
1. There are Multiple Chocolate Celebrations Each Year Ever notice how many National Days involve chocolate? There's the classic July 7th Chocolate Day, which recognizes the day chocolate was first brought to Europe in 1550, but there's also a Milk Chocolate Day, White Chocolate Day, Cocoa Day, and an International and World Chocolate Day for everyone to celebrate. We even get as specific as National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, November 7th (get ready!!).
2. Chocolate is Kinda Actually a Vegetable Both milk and dark chocolate come from the cocoa bean, which grows on a cocoa tree, also known as Theobroma Cacao. This evergreen tree is part of the Malvaceae family, whose siblings also include Okra and Cotton. For this reason, one of the most important elements of chocolate is actually a vegetable.3. White Chocolate is Technically Not Chocolate
Strictly speaking, white chocolate isn't actually chocolate at all. It contains no cocoa solids or chocolate liquor, technically disqualifying it from actually being chocolate. But it does contain cocoa butter which is part of the cocoa bean.
4. Baker's Chocolate isn't Just for Baking Baker's chocolate actually gets its name from the founder of a chocolate company back in 1765. Dr. James Baker and John Hannon started Walter Baker Chocolate, which is actually where the term came from. So feel free to enjoy it in more ways than just cooking!
5. Milton Hershey is Seriously the Candy Man Of course, Milton Hershey is best known for founding the Hershey Chocolate Company in Hershey, PA, but long before his infamous role in the chocolate world, he got his start in candy! At just 30 years old, he started his first company, The Lancaster Caramel Company, whose products we still enjoy through the Hershey Company today.
6. Making Chocolate isn't Easy The high prestige of chocolate over the years didn't come without some good, old fashioned hard work. You probably didn't know that it takes 500 cocoa beans to make just one pound of chocolate, involving an 8-step process.
7. Chocolate has a Special Melting Point Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt at a mere 93 degrees. That's even less than the human body temperature, which is why it melts so easily on your tongue... and in your pocket.
8. Chocolate has ALWAYS been a Symbol of Love We weren't the first to use chocolate as a show of our affection. While we buy it for loved ones on anniversaries and holidays, the Ancient Mayans went as far as to use chocolate in marriage rituals and dowries. And once the Spanish colonized Mesoamerica, it gained its reputation as an aphrodisiac. They began highly promoting it as a love potion, and eventually, Valentine's Day came to be with chocolate as the headliner.
9. Cocoa Nuts used to be used as Currency The Aztecs used to believe that cacao seeds were a gift from Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom. They viewed it so highly that at the height of their civilization, it was used as currency in exchange for food and clothes, as well as a tribute, or tax, from peoples they ruled. (And you thought you loved chocolate).
10. Europeans like Chocolate More than We Do What was once 'too bitter' for European palates back in the 1700's, chocolate is now enjoyed more in Europe than anywhere else. Of the top 20 countries who eat the most chocolate, 80% of them are in Northern Europe. It's time to step it up here in the States!