Do you have an unmatched love for chocolate? Are you willing to drive a long way to try that new organic cocoa bean chocolate cake you saw online? Do you enjoy preparing foods where you can use chocolate as an ingredient? Do you love receiving fancy dark chocolate products as gifts during the holidays? Do you feel like something is missing if you haven’t had chocolate in a while?
Chocolate is beloved by many people all around the world. Because of its unique taste and that pleasant feeling that you get after eating it, many make it a regular part of their diet. From chocolate bars to hot chocolate, its popularity continues to grow as more and more flavors and varieties are introduced.
While your love for espresso bean chocolate truffles or fancy dark chocolate cake may be unparalleled, you may not know everything there is to know about your favorite food. Below are 5 things about chocolate that you should know:
- About 400-500 cacao beans are required to make one pound of chocolate
Chocolate is made with cacao beans harvested from the cacao tree. The cacao beans come from pods about the size of a football. By roasting and grinding these cacao seeds, different forms of chocolate – paste, liquid, or block – can be made. To make a one-pound bar of chocolate requires approximately 400 to 500 cacao beans!
- Dark chocolate has existed for more than three millennia
From as early as 1900 B.C., dark chocolate has been consumed in the Central America and South America regions as a beverage. At first, people consumed it in its pure, bitter form. However, through the years, honey, cane sugar, and milk were added to enhance its flavor. Today, we not only have dark chocolate but also milk, white, ruby and other varieties of chocolate for both drinking and eating.
- The first chocolate bar was made in 1847
In 1847, a British chocolate manufacturing company named Fry’s was the first to make a solid chocolate bar. They used a mixture of cocoa powder, cocoa, and sugar to make a paste that was then molded into a solid bar.
- Chocolate is good for the heart
There are various compounds contained in chocolate that have been associated with several different health benefits. In dark chocolate, a compound called flavonoids is abundant, and researchers say it can help boost heart health. Throughout the years, many studies have been conducted on the benefits of chocolate and it’s been said that eating chocolates regularly in moderation may lower high blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels, helping reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Chocolate is good for the brain, too
The flavonoids found in chocolate can also boost blood flow to the brain, helping improve learning and memory function. According to experts, by consuming a cup or two of hot chocolate a day, older people can slow down the cognitive function decline that is associated with aging.