All isn’t quite as it seems in the world of chocolate. It hides some pretty dark secrets… and then there are some milk secrets, and some caramel-centered secrets! But seriously, did you know for example that German chocolate cake isn’t German? Oh so now you’re interested! That stuff is really named for Sam German, an American baker. Looks like I have your attention, so here are 10 of the Sweetest Chocolate Facts You May Not Know…
Did you know how good chocolate is for you?
The smell of chocolate can trigger the brain into a state of relaxation, and eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by a third. Scientists have also found that chocolate has an antibacterial effect on the mouth and protects against tooth decay. Why don’t we all brush our teeth with chocolate I hear you ask! Well I don’t know, write to your congressman!
But that it’s not so good for others?
All pet owners know that chocolate can make dogs and cats seriously, or even fatally, ill. It could even kill us, but you would have to eat a serious amount to be in trouble. A lethal dose of chocolate for a human being is about 22 pounds: even I would struggle to sink that much!
It takes about 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate
That sounds like a lot, right? Maybe not! When you consider the inventor of the chocolate chip cookie sold the idea to Nestle Toll House… in return for a lifetime supply of chocolate! Jealous? I know I am!
Melting chocolate is a problem… or is it great?
Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt at around 93° F, just below human body temperature. That’s why chocolate melts in your mouth so deliciously. But what if you don’t want your chocolate to melt? Well, you invent M&Ms! They were made in 1941 for soldiers to eat chocolate without it splurging all over!
World War 2 was a freaky time for chocolate
Nutella was invented in Italy during World War 2 to cut costs. A cheapskate pastry maker discovered he didn’t have enough cocoa to keep up with chocolate demand. So he mixed hazelnuts into his chocolate recipe to extend his cocoa supply and the rest, as they say, is history.
We really, really like chocolate… like, REALLY
Every second in the US, 100 pounds of chocolate are eaten. Americans also buy more than 58 million pounds of chocolate every Valentine’s Day, which makes up 5% of sales for the entire year! Is it any wonder that the US has a reputation for being overweight! But then again, the British chocolate maker Thorntons created the world’s largest chocolate bar in celebration of its 100th birthday. It weighed a massive 5,792 kg, or 12,770 pounds!
But did you know we could like it a whole lot more?
How you serve food and drink makes a difference to the perception of its taste, and chocolate is no exception! Experiments have found that hot cocoa seems to taste better when drunk from orange-colored cups, for example. So next time you pour yourself a round of hot cocoa, use a bright orange cup for a taste sensation!
Chocolate used to be even more precious than it is now
It was used as money in Mayan times, since the cocoa bean was considered to be worth more than even gold. Sounds like ancient history to you? Well more recently, during the American Revolutionary War, soldiers were sometimes paid in chocolate! What goes around comes around, right?
You know that chocolate river in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory?
It actually existed! When the movie was shot in 1971, filmmakers made the river from 15,000 gallons of water mixed with chocolate and cream. Tasty! Well sorry to burst your bubble, but nope! All that cream caused the river to spoil quickly, and the cast were revolted by the terrible smell it produced.
What’s the deal with white chocolate?
Well, white chocolate isn’t chocolate at all, since it contains no cocoa solids or cocoa liquor. But you know when your chocolate goes kinda white inside the wrapper? What’s with THAT? Well, it’s totally harmless and safe to eat, it just changes the chocolate’s texture, that’s all! It’s caused by the sugar or fat in your chocolate changing due to conditions like temperature or moisture. So now you know!
Before Christopher Columbus began the Columbian Exchange, there were no oranges in Florida. There were no bananas in Ecuador, or potatoes in Ireland, no coffee in Colombia, no pineapples in Hawaii, no rubber trees in Africa, no tomatoes in Italy… and no freakin’ chocolate in Switzerland. Thanks for chocolate, and for all these facts, Chris! We owe you big time!
[Featured image: Sauce Fine Foods]