Mind-blowing Facts about Chocolate

Tastessence Staff Oct 4, 2018
Chocolates may not be the food of Gods literally anymore, but their delights are undeniable. Dark, white, milk, sweet, bitter, dark-sweet, dark-bitter, unsweetened... the list has no end, just like the pleasures of eating it. Learn about this food, and fall in love with it all over again.
Candies, ice creams, brownies, cookies, milkshakes... chocoholics can never get enough of their favorite, sinful indulgence. They are incredibly delicious, of course, but they're also packed with a surprising number of health benefits. The darker the chocolate is, the better it is for your body.
Sadly enough, this is surely going to make you reach out for that extra helping of chocolate syrup on your pancakes tomorrow morning. And the next. And the day after that too. We tend to forget that the health benefits of chocolates are indirectly proportional to the rate of consumption.

What is the origin of chocolates?

The Mesoamericans have to be credited with the discovery of chocolate. They started with making beverages using cocoa. Instances of the same have been traced back to around 1100 BC.

The story behind the name...

The word 'chocolate' is derived from the Aztec word, cacahuatl or xocolatl. This roughly translates to 'bitter water'. Interestingly, Cocoa was originally spelled Cacao. The original spelling is used in botany.

How are they made?

Pure chocolate comes from cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Cocoa beans are fermented, dried, roasted, and ground before being used to produce chocolate. Loads of things are added to make it the divine-tasting treat that it is.

Their journey across the world...

Cocoa beans were first brought to Europe by the Spanish Conquistadors in 1528. Chocolate soon became very popular and was taken as a sweet drink with sugar and vanilla extract.
Henri Nestlé of Switzerland was the first to create Milk Chocolate by adding condensed milk to the mixture. In 1879, Rudolphe Lindt of Switzerland developed a method to give chocolate its smooth, melting consistency.

Their infamous association...

Côte d'Ivoire, in West Africa is the world's largest producer of cocoa. Unfortunately, this industry also employs a staggering number of child laborers. Children working here are exposed to hazardous chemicals present in the pesticides and fungicides used to treat the trees. Despite repeated efforts exercised by UNICEF, the situation has come to an impasse.

Random Facts about Chocolates

~The scientific term for the cocoa tree is 'Theobroma Cacao', which in Greek means 'Food of the Gods'.

~The Mayans and Aztecs believed that the cocoa beans originated from Paradise and would bring wisdom and power to anyone consuming them.
~Never feed chocolate to your pets as it contains theobromine, a chemical which is highly toxic for animals. It overstimulates their cardiac and nervous systems, and can cause instant death.
~Chocolate syrup was a key feature in the famous shower scene of Alfred Hitchcock's movie, Psycho. Owing to its thickness, it was used to depict blood, and it indeed looked gory enough in the black-and-white movie.
~Chocolate-inspired literature includes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, and Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

Chocolates: The Misunderstood Delights

Chocolates and Cholesterol...

...have no connection whatsoever, as long as you're eating them in moderation. In fact, consuming a bite-sized chocolate every day has been known to increase HDL, or "good" cholesterol levels in the body.

Chocolates and Acne...

...don't really go together, since acne is the result of cumulative factors that include your diet, hormones, and your genes as well. But yes, abuse chocolates, and they'll get vengeful.

Chocolates and Bad Teeth...

...are a wonderful combination, an evidence of your non-existent oral hygiene routine. Any sweet, starchy, or sticky deposits on your teeth need to be cleaned out, pronto. Otherwise, you'd just be inviting the bacteria to dine on your pearly-whites.

Chocolates and Weight Gain...

...are two separate entities, unless you make a meal of them, morning, noon, and night. Too much of anything is bad for you, and chocolates are no different.
On a parting note, here's something in the words of Lucy Van Pelt, from the comic Peanuts - All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt! Gem of a thought, indeed.