Chocolate | Amazing Facts

Chocolate Amazing Facts

40 Amazing Facts about Chocolate | Amazing Facts 4U

  1. The chocolate was originally used more than 2,500 years ago in Central America. The Mayan civilisation considered Cacao to be a divine gift and it was used ceremoniously. The name ‘Cacao’ is a Maya word meaning ‘God food’ . It is thought that the word ‘cocoa’ has come about through a miss-spelling of ‘cacao’.
  2. Spaniards were the first to know about cocoa in Europe but amazingly, they succeeded in keeping the art of the cocoa industry a secret from the rest of Europe for nearly a hundred years. Spanish monks, who had been involved with the processing of the cocoa beans, leaked the secret out finally. The word chocolate was first recorded in English in 1604, though England’s first cup of chocolate was not brewed until 1647.
  3. The cacao tree is in fact very delicate and sensitive needing protection from wind and requires a fair amount of shade especially in it’s first 2 to 4 years of growth. When a cacao tree is full grown it usually measures 15 to 25 feet high. In 3 to 5 years the cacao tree will start to produce flower clusters, then flowers. Only 1 in 500 flowers goes on to produce a pod which is the fruit of the cacao bean tree.
  4. One cacao pod will contain about 42 beans. 7 cacao pods or about 300 cacao beans are required to produce a pound of chocolate.
  5. One cocoa tree produces about 50 pods twice a year. Each pod has enough cocoa for about eight bars of milk chocolate or four bars of dark. So each tree gives 400-800 bars of chocolate a year.
  6. Amazing Fact is that the trees are so frail and its roots so shallow that to climb the tree is too dangerous. Long handled steel knives are used to reach the highest pods and snip them off without wounding the soft bark of the tree. Training and experience is needed to recognize which fruit is ripe and ready to cut.
  7. Pods are Left out in the heat of the day for the fermentation lasting 3 to 9 days. It is a simple “yeasting” process in which the sugars contained in the beans are converted to acid, primarily lactic acid and acetic acid. Visually, a layer of pulp starts to form around the beans making them darker, less bitter. During the process, the germ of the bean is killed and enzymes are activated to form the compounds which produce the chocolate flavor. The beans are then dried for several days. When completely dried, the beans are packed in sacks, inspected and shipped to factories for the making of chocolate.
  8. After sorting and cleaning, the cocoa beans are roasted for up to two hours and then shelled. What remains are chocolate nibs, which contain 54% cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is the natural fat of the bean. As the nibs are ground, cocoa butter is released, transforming the solid nibs into the free-flowing substance known as chocolate liquor.
  9. The chocolate liquor is passed through huge presses to remove a desired amount of the cocoa butter to be used later. Cocoa butter is an amazing vegetable fat that resists rancidity and oxidation and can be kept for years without spoiling. After the cocoa butter is removed, a pressed cake which is the cocoa powder is left which still contain up to 10% of cocoa butter and  is sold bulk.
  10. Solid chocolate is made by adding back together the different parts -cocoa butter, cocoa power and other ingredients – sugar, perhaps milk and vanilla to achieve the individual manufacturer’s desired finished taste. The mixture then travels through a series of heavy rollers until there is a refined smooth paste ready for conching.
  11. Conching is a flavor development process which “kneads” the chocolate. The final step is tempering, a process that gradually raises, lowers and then raises the temperature again to set degrees. Finally, this finished product is poured into many shapes from candy bar sizes to ten pound slabs.
  12. Over 66 percent of the entire worlds cacao is grown in Africa and 98 percent of all cocoa is cultivated by just 15 countries.
  13. The Ivory Coast produces more cocoa than any other country (37 %) followed by Ghana (21 %) and  Indonesia (14 %).
  14. America consumes virtually 50 percent of the worlds chocolate. Americans eat 2.8 billion pounds of candy annually. About half of it is chocolate.
  15. The Swiss eat the most chocolate. The average person eats about 20 lbs a year.
  16. More than twice as many women than men eat and crave chocolate. It is observed that chocolate cravings cannot be satisfied by any sweet/candy other than chocolate itself.
  17. Chocolate produces the effects of a mild anti-depressant by increasing serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain.
  18. Chocolate contains a small quantity of caffeine and emulates a mild amphetamine.
  19. Cocoa butter is a by-product produced from the crushing of roasted cacao beans. It is used in a number of cosmetic products including massage oils and skin cosmetics as it is one of the most stable, highly concentrated natural fats known melting at just below average body temperature making it the ideal foundation in moisturising creams and other such products.
  20. The largest chocolate bar weighed 5,792.50 kg (12,770 lb ) and was created by Thorntons plc (UK) in Alfreton, Derbyshire, UK on 7 October 2011. The chocolate bar measured 4.0 mtr by 4.0 mtr by 0.35 mtr.
  21. Despite being high in fat content, chocolate doesn’t appear to raise blood cholesterol levels.
  22. Chocolate is lower in caffeine than tea, coffee and coca cola. A one ounce bar of chocolate contains about 6mg of caffeine, whereas a five ounce cup of regular coffee contains over 40mg.
  23. Dark chocolate has more cacao and less sugar than other chocolates, so it is considered healthier than milk and white chocolate. It  contains lots of antioxidants that help the cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure. It widens arteries and promotes healthy blood flow that can prevent the buildup of plaque that can block arteries. Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by 1/3.
  24. Flavonoids found in cocoa products have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting effects that can reduce the risk of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
  25. In 1842 Cadbury’s in England created the worlds first chocolate bar.
  26. The shelf life of a bar of chocolate is approximately one year.
  27. Chocolate manufacturers use 20% of the worlds peanuts and 40% of the worlds almonds.
  28. Chocolate contains minerals such as potassium, calcium and iron. It also contains the B-vitamin riboflavin. Chocolate ingredient known as cocoa butter is mostly of monounsaturated fatty acid also found in olive oil.
  29. In general, nuts are loaded with protein. Peanuts have the most, followed by almonds, cashews and walnuts. Protein is essential for healthy brain and muscle function, and for vegetarians, are a great substitute for animal protein. Nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber. Thus with all the added benefits of chocolate, chocolate dipped nuts are a great snack.
  30. Chocolate manufacturers currently use 40% of the world’s almonds and 20% of the world’s peanuts.
  31. A single chocolate chip can give you enough energy to walk 150 feet.
  32. Every Russian and American space voyage has included chocolate bars.
  33. Chocolate’s scent increases theta brain waves, which induce relaxation. This is mainly why people feel better about their problems after eating it.
  34. The guy who invented the chocolate chip cookie sold the idea to Nestle Toll House. It was sold not for money but for a lifetime supply of chocolate.
  35. Milton Hershey, the founder of Hershey Chocolate, was supposed to go on the Titanic but cancelled last minute due to business issues.
  36. Chocolate is technically responsible for the invention of microwave.  Scientists were experimenting with micro waves  A scientist named Percy Spencer entered the lab with a chocolate bar in his pocket and realized it quickly began to melt. Spencer successfully tried popping corn and then attempted to cook an egg which cooked so quickly, it blew up in his face.
  37. A lethal dose of chocolate for a human being is about 10 kg (22 lbs) or 40 Hershey bars.
  38. Chocolate can be deadly for dogs. Chocolate contains an ingredient called “Theobromine” which can be toxic to a dogs central nervous system and cardiac muscles.
  39. In 2013, Belgium issued a limited edition of chocolate flavored stamps.
  40. Chocolate syrup was used for blood in the famous 45 second shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Psycho, which actually took 7 days to shoot.

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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