No matter who you ask, almost everyone loves chocolate. It is one of the most popular sweet treats on Earth. You’ve probably been eating chocolate since you were a kid and never thought much about it. It is so readily available in many parts of the world that having a piece of chocolate is just something we don’t think much about. But how much do you really know about chocolate? In fact, there is a lot of mystery surrounding chocolate that many people don’t realize. Read on to learn 9 amazing facts about chocolate that you probably never knew before.
Chocolate is actually a fruit!
Well, it’s not quite a fruit per se, but it’s close. Chocolate is part of the Theobroma tree, which produces the cocoa pods from which chocolate is made. The cocoa pods are harvested and the beans are removed, roasted and ground into the form we know and enjoy as chocolate.
400 beans are used to make one kilogram of chocolate.
A lot of cocoa beans have to be collected to make just one kilo of chocolate. Each cacao pod contains about 40 beans, so that means farmers have to harvest a lot of beans from the Theobroma tree to make as much chocolate as the world is constantly enjoying.
The Theobroma tree produces many beans per season.
For each year they live, the Theobroma tree can produce about 2,500 beans each harvest season. This means that each tree can yield about 6.25 pounds of chocolate. This roughly translates to about 33 large chocolate bars. This means that many trees are needed to support the chocolate.
Farmers spend a lot of time cultivating these trees before yields are possible.
Each tree takes about four to five years before it is ready to produce cocoa pods. This means that farmers must continuously grow the tree to maturity before they are profitable.
Hot chocolate is the original treat.
The first treat that contained chocolate was the hot chocolate drink. It was only available to royalty as it was a very rare and highly prized delicacy. Once machinery was created to produce chocolate on a wider scale, treats and candies made with chocolate were more readily available to the masses.
West Africa produces the most chocolate in the world.
West Africa, or Ivory Coast, is responsible for 70% of the world’s chocolate supply. It has a specific taste of the chocolate that is produced in Côte d’Ivoire. It has a muted flavor that is great for commercial candy coating use.
The chocolate candy was first invented in 1847.
Our modern concept of a chocolate bar was invented in 1847 by Joseph Fry in Great Britain, together with his son. This original candy has evolved into an endless array of chocolates and treats, with some chocolate bite that exists for every type of taste buds.
White chocolate is not actually made from chocolate.
Well, it’s not made like the chocolate we identify as chocolate. Contains cocoa butter, milk, vanilla and sugar. It can remain white, leaving out the key ingredient that gives traditional chocolate its deep, brown color: cocoa liquor. This is why white chocolate has a creamier and lighter taste than regular chocolate.
Chocolate actually makes you happier.
Eating chocolate and tasting this delicious treat is probably a source of happiness in itself. But chocolate contains compounds that make your brain happy. The amino acids in chocolate release endorphins and serotonin in your brain, which create a feeling of happiness.