Let’s start from the beginning. The history of chocolate dates back more than 3,000 years ago. Chocolate was first invented by the Aztecs, who made chocolate from ground cacao seeds. They added seasonings so that they can product spicy and frothy drink. At the beginning, chocolate was actually a drink.
Therefore, even the name chocolate suggests that. The name comes from the word “chocolatl”, a word Aztecs used to describe chocolate. The word itself, comes from the two words “xocos” which means sour or bitter, and “atl”, which is water or drink. As you can see, in the beginning, chocolate was not a sweet delight. But when Spaniards brought cacao to Europe in the 16th century, things evolved. So, how did we get here? Let’s check some fun and delicious chocolate facts.
- The English company Cadbury was responsible for making the first chocolate bar. That happened in 1842
- Cacao originated from South and Central America. However, nowadays, things changed. More than 70% of the cacao used for chocolate is grown in Africa, with Cote D’Ivoire the single largest producer
- If you want to drink wine with chocolate, go for red wine. Sparkling wines and champagne are too acidic for chocolate. The same goes for white wine. Therefore, red wine compliments chocolate the best
- Cacao trees produce 2,500 beans per tree. And it takes one cacao tree four years to start producing beans. As for chocolate production, it takes 400 beans to produce one pound of chocolate
- Speaking of cacao trees, the good news is that they have long lifespan, and can live up to 200 years. The bad news is that they produce cocoa beans for only 25 years
- The Hershey kiss is one of the most popular chocolate bars nowadays. They were first produced in 1907. In the beginning, they were shaped like a square. It wasn’t until 1921 that they got the current shape. Nowadays, Hershey produces more than 70 million kisses per day
- In the early years, chocolate was reserved for the elite and high class people. But thanks to the Industrial revolution and the technological advances of it, chocolate became available to everyone
- Nowadays, chocolate is one of the most popular industries. In fact, more than 50 million people depend on cacao production and cacao for their livelihood
- Chocolate has always been associated with mythical powers. Historians have associated chocolate with magical powers, but also with medicinal properties. In Latin, the cacao trees are called “theobroma cacao”. The term translates to “food of the gods”
- More on the “powers of chocolate”. Fernando Pessoa, a famous Portuguese poet, once famously wrote “There is no metaphysics on Earth like chocolate”
- The first milk chocolate was created in 1875. Daniel Peter from Switzerland found a way to mix condensed milk with chocolate to create milk chocolate. His friend Henri Nestle produced the milk, and that is how Nestle became the most popular chocolate factory
- Cadbury, in addition to producing the first chocolate bar, once sold produced chocolate as a beverage. They marketed drinking chocolate as an alternative to alcohol
- Rodolphe Lindt, another popular name in the chocolate business, discovered conching. This process is essential for refining chocolate, and he discovered it because his assistant left a machine running all night. Some things just happen by accident
- The Catholic Church associated chocolate with heretical behavior. But the views have changed over time
- Nazis used chocolate during World War II to create bombs, and to lure Jews. They created exploding chocolate covered bombs. They also used chocolate to lure Jews onto cattle cars
- Ruth Wakefield invented the first chocolate chip cookie in 1938. After she invented the cookie, Nestle bought the recipe for one dollar and a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate. Her cookie, however, is the official cookie of the state of Massachusetts
- In Switzerland, people eat the most chocolate. Citizens of the country eat 22 pounds of chocolate per person per year. Australia follows with 20 pounds, while Ireland is third on that list with 19 pounds per person per year
- In Germany, you can find the largest cuckoo clock made out of chocolate
- In Indonesia, there is a 20-foot statue of a pair of hands holding a cacao pod. But you can understand that, as chocolate is one of the most important things in Indonesia. Most of the farmers live by producing cacao beans
- The largest box of chocolates was created in 2008 in London. Thorntons create a box standing at 16.5 feet tall and 11.5 feet wide. There were more than 220,000 chocolates inside. The box weighted 4,805 pounds
- More for Guinness records. The most expensive chocolate is “Madelina”. Fritz Knipschildt created the chocolate
- The cacao beans contain 300 different flavors and 400 separate aromas
- Mayans viewed chocolate as a bridge between hell and heaven. Therefore, they gave sacrificial victims chocolate drink. The drink was mixed with blood, as Mayans believed blood will convert the victim’s heart into a cacao pod. Humans were actually sacrificed in Mayan civilization to guarantee good cacao harvest
- Montezuma II, the 9th emperor of the Aztecs is known as The Chocolate King. He was one of the most powerful men in the world, and at the height of his power, he had more than billion cacao beans stashed. Back in that time, cacao beans were used as currency
- The first machine-made chocolate was produced in 1780 in Barcelona, Spain
- Madame du Barry, one of the most famous nymphomaniacs, encouraged her lovers to drink chocolate. She did this so that they can keep up with her. She believed chocolate will give them energy
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