Sure, chocolate may be your favorite sweet treat. But did you know it used to be used as currency?Nothing beats the smooth and rich taste of a piece of chocolate. Just about everyone around the globe is a fan of chocolate, which is why it’s such a huge multi-billion dollar industry. But, there are tons of hidden facts about chocolate that just make it oh-so sweeter.If you want to learn more about the world’s favorite dessert, check out these facts below.
According toGodiva, the word “chocolate” actually roots back to the Aztec word “xocolatl,” which means “bitter water.” The chocolate company states that due to lack of sugar in Central America during these times, chocolate had a very different taste to what we know today.
According toSmithsonian.com, cacao beans, which are the beans used to make chocolate, were so sought after during the Mayan and Aztec times that it was used as a form of payment. Research from the publication also states that some people would go as far as making counterfeit beans with clay.
Even scientist Linnaeus was a big fan of chocolate. He named the cacao tree “Theobroma cacao,” which literally translates to “cacao, food of the Gods” in 1753, according toCornell University.
TheGuinness World Recordfor the largest chocolate bar in the world was set by Thorntons PLC in the United Kingdom on September 07, 2011, and weighed 5792.50 kg (about 12,770 lbs)
Most people think that there are only three main types of chocolate, but that’s not necessarily true. Blond chocolate, named after its striking color, was actually made by accident by pastry chef Frédéric Bau, according to the chocolate’s founding company,Valrhona.
During the Revolutionary War, some soldiers were fighting for freedom in exchange for chocolate. According to research done by the chocolate and candy companyMars, International, since chocolate didn’t spoil, it was used as a ration during the war.
White chocolate contains cocoa butter, but doesn’t contain any cocoa powder or cocoa solids that give regular milk and dark chocolate its color and flavor. Since cocoa butter doesn’t actually taste good on its own, it’s mixed with milk fat, vanilla, and sugar for a sweeter flavor.
The History Channel also noted that the chocolate industry bloomed into one of the most successful businesses in the world. Each year, the chocolate industry makes over $75 billion in sales around the world.
According toHershey’s,it takes hundreds of cocoa beans just to produce one pound of chocolate. To put that in perspective, that’s about 10 standard-sized Hershey’s chocolate bars, which are 1.5 ounces.
The Mars family, which founded the famous Mars candy company, named the popular candy bar after their beloved horse, Snickers, in 1930.
Dark chocolate is actually beneficial for your heart health. A study conducted byWalden University’s School of Nursingshows that blood pressure significantly decreased in participants, mainly due to the chocolate’s heavy concentration of flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants.
Harvard University also noted that chocolate can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. The university stated that middle-aged and older adults that ate 3.5 ounces of chocolate daily were less likely to suffer from heart disease in comparison to those who had less.
Chocolate is known to have extremely soothing properties. A study byEssex Universityfound that people were more relaxed and actually paid attention and retained more information when just the smell of chocolate was around.
This Cadbury chocolate bar had a much pricier tag than usual, and for good reason. At the time of being sold in 2001, this bar of chocolate was 100 years old and went on Captain Robert Scott’s first Discovery expedition to the Antarctic, according toGuinness World Records.
Europeans are the world’s truest chocolate lovers. Research fromForbesshows that the largest chocolate-consuming countries are Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland.
Chocolate contains over 600 flavor compounds, which give off its distinct aroma, according to theAmerican Chemical Society. In comparison, red wine is reported to only have around 200 flavor compounds.