20 interesting facts about chocolate

Chocolate is the most popular confection around the world. We love and enjoy the wide variety of its sorts and flavors, but how much do we know about it? It is not necessary to be an expert of chocolate to know a set of fascinating facts and data about this product and its use. Here are collected only 20 facts which we bring to your attention. We are confident that this information will be an interesting topic of conversation, and maybe more.

  1. According to research, the use of chocolate began more than 2500 years ago in Central America. The Mayan civilization believed that cacao was a divine gift from god, and so, it was highly esteemed. It was used for ceremonial purposes, and its beans were often used as currency. Literally translated from the Mayan language, the word Cacao means “god food”, and after the product entered Europe in the 16th century, changed the basis of its name to “Theobroma cacao” meaning “food for the gods”.
  2. The name for chocolate comes from the Aztec word “xocalati”, which means “bitter water”. During the time of the Aztecs, cocoa was mainly used as a beverage in combination with chili pepper, achiote and cornmeal is their merit, and moreover, according to the legend, they added a special type of hallucinogenic mushroom in drink (perhaps to induce an altered state of consciousness that they believed would allow them to communicate with their gods and other spirits).
  3. More than 66% of cocoa of the whole world is grown in Africa and 98% of all cocoa is cultivated in only 15 countries.
  4. Among admirers of chocolate women are twice more than men.
  5. It is noted that the desire for chocolate cannot be satisfied by any other type of candy or sweets, except the chocolate itself (which is not surprising).
  6. Chocolate acts as a mild anti-depressant, since it emits serotonin and endorphin in brain.
  7. Chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine producing an effect of mild amphetamine.
  8. It is assumed that chocolate works as an aphrodisiac, although this statement is not scientifically proven. This theory is based on the fact, that chocolate contains such stimulants as caffeine, theobromine and phenylethylamine.
  9. Cacao butter is a by-product, which is received from the roasted cacao beans, and in addition to its use in the production of chocolate, it is also part of some cosmetic products, including massage oils and skin-care products. It is one of the most stable, highly concentrated natural fats.
  10. Terry's of York produced more than 350 million types of chocolate oranges a year.
  11. The biggest chocolate structure was the Easter egg constructed in Melbourne, 4,484lb and 10 foot high.
  12. In Belgium 17000 people work in the chocolate industry.
  13. In spite of the fact that chocolate contains a large amount of fat, it doesn't promote the increase of cholesterol levels in blood.
  14. Allergies to chocolate are infrequent (optimistic information, isn't it?).
  15. About 50% of consumption of chocolate in the whole world belongs to America.
  16. Napoleon always had chocolate with him, which he used as a tonic, when he had energy demand (and everybody thought that he had bought it for Josephine).
  17. One pod of cacao contains about 42 beans. It takes up to 270 cacao beans to make a pound of chocolate.
  18. More than 7 billion pounds of chocolate are annually eaten worldwide.
  19. About 90% of cacao in the world is grown on small family farms, no larger than 12 acres.
  20. In 2006 more than 7.2 million tons of chocolate was sold in the world.