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Some Facts About Chocolate

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Facts about chocolate

Just some facts about Chocolate that I found on the web !!

1) Cacao is a tree, native to South America, whose seeds are the source of cocoa and chocolate.

2) Botanists believe that cacao trees grew wild in the Amazon region , however, the use of the cacao tree, for culinary purposes, did not begin until it reached the lush tropical lowlands of southern Mexico over 3000 years ago.

3) The oldest known civilization of the Americas (1500 - 400 B.C.), The Olmecs, were probably the first users of cacao.

Though few records survived, recent linguistic findings suggest the word "cacao" is derived from the word Kakawa in Mixe-Zoquean, believed to have been their language.

4) Cacao beans were so valuable in ancient Mexico that the Maya and subsequent Aztec and Toltec civilizations used them as a means of currency to pay for commodities and taxes.

The Aztecs, and other ancient indigenous cultures, believed chocolate to be an aphrodisiac.  Although this is not exactly true, chocolate does contain phenyl ethylamine (PEA) which creates a chemical reaction in the brain similar to that of falling in love.

5) In the 17th Century, the first recorded case of “Death by Chocolate” occurred.

In San Cristobal de las Casa, in Chiapas, Mexico, upper class Spaniards were so addicted to chocolate intake that they refused a church dictated ban forbidding consumption of drink or food during Mass.

In response, the townspeople refused to uphold this edict and chose to attend worship services in Convents.

The Bishop of Chiapas, who passed the edict, was found dead due to a mixture of poison that was secretly added to his daily cup of chocolate.  Rumor has it that he passed from this world with a smile on his face.

6) Cocoa, a rare and expensive commodity, had been introduced in Central Europe via Spain as early as the 1600’s but it wasn’t until 1765 that the first chocolate factory was established in the United States.

Chocolate was such as a prestigious luxury that the French Ruler, Louis XIV, also known as the “Sun King”, established a court position entitled Royal Chocolate Maker to the King.

7) The French Leader Napoleon insisted that wine, from the Burgundy vineyard called Chambertin, as well as chocolate be available during military campaigns

Due to its precious nature, the distribution of chocolate was limited to himself and his senior military advisors.

8) In 1765, the company, Walter Baker Chocolate, was founded by Dr. James Baker and his chocolate maker John Hannon, in a converted wooden mill on the banks of the Neponset River in Massachusetts and thus the term “Baking Chocolate” came into being.

9)  In 1828, cocoa in a powdered format became widely available. This allowed chocolate to become mass produced and widely available during Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth (19th) century.

10) In 1849 during the “Gold Rush” of San Francisco, Dominbro Ghirardelli of Italy began making chocolate. His original factory still stands at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, CA.

11) In 1868, a Parisian named Etienne Guittard arrived in California and started the Guittard Chocolate Company which is still in operation.

12) 1871 was a landmark year for American Chocolate as Milton Hershey, at the age of nineteen (19), founded his company in Pennsylvania.

13) In 1875, Milk Chocolate was introduced. After over eight (8) years of experimentation, Daniel Peter of Switzerland created this concoction.

He sold his creation to his neighbor, Henri Nestle, and thus Nestle Chocolate came into being.

14) In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt, the founder of Lindt Chocolates, invented the process of “Conching” which is used to refine chocolate thus enhancing it’s quality.

15) In 1896, the recipe for chocolate brownies, an American snack food staple, was introduced in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

16) In 1907, the iconic Milk Chocolate Hershey's Kisses were introduced. They are one of the most successful chocolates and Hershey produces approximately 20-25 million per day in a variety of flavors.

17) In 1913, a process was invented by a Swiss Confectioner named Jules Sechaud that allowed chocolates to have unique fillings.

18)  The original 3 Musketeers Bar of the 1930s had three parts: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

It became all chocolate in the 1940s and the formula remains the same to this very day.

19) In 1938, Nestle Crunch was introduced. It was the first chocolate bar to combine milk chocolate and crunchy crisps to create a sensory eating experience that blended taste, texture and sound.

20) In 1939, Nestle introduced Chocolate Chips.

21) During the Second World War, the U.S. Government commissioned Milton Hershey to create a candy bar to be included in soldier’s rations.  The candy bar chosen was the famous Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar.

So successful was this collaboration, Hershey Chocolate was called upon during the Persian Gulf War to create a chocolate bar that could withstand high temperatures.

The “Desert Bars” were included in the soldier’s daily rations and were also sold to consumers for use in survival kits.

22) In 1960, Chocolate syrup was used to simulate blood in the famous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, “Psycho”. The scene, featuring Janet Leigh, took over seven (7) days to shoot.

The U.S. produces more chocolate than any other country but the Swiss consume the most, followed closely by the English.

Americans eat an average of twenty two (22) pounds of candy each year, or approximately 2.8 BILLION pounds annually, split almost equally between candy and chocolate. That is far less than most Europeans consume.

The Midwest and the Northeast consume more candy per region than the South, Southwest, West or Mid-Atlantic states.

The American palette prefers milk chocolate, approximately ninety two (92) percent, but dark chocolate's popularity is growing rapidly.

American chocolate manufacturers use about 1.5 billion pounds of milk only surpassed by the cheese and ice cream industries. They also consume approximately 3,500,000 pounds of whole milk.

Chocolate manufacturers currently use forty (40) % of the world's almonds and twenty (20) % of the world's peanuts.


Image Courtesy: chocogram

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The.Tortilla.Guy's picture
Many of the old myths about chocolate and health and crumbling under the weight of scientific fact. The once-prevalent believe that something that tastes so good just can't be good for you has given way to a more balanced picture of chocolate and cocoa products and their relation to health and nutrition. Here are brief reviews of recent findings that correct common misperceptions of the effects of chocolate on health. Myth: Confectionery is a major cause of tooth decay. Truth: Tooth decay is primarily the result of poor oral hygiene. Dental caries (another word for cavities) are caused by any foods containing fermentable carbohydrates that are left on the teeth for too long. In fact, there are ingredients found in chocolate products that may retard the tooth decaying process. Myth: Chocolate is high in caffeine. Truth: The amount of caffeine in a piece of chocolate candy is significantly lower than that in coffee, tea or cola drinks. For instance, a 5 oz cup of instant coffee has between 40 and 108 mg of caffeine, while a one oz milk chocolate bar contains only 6 mg and many confectionery items have no caffeine at all. Myth: Confectionery has a high fat content and will lead to weight gain. Truth: "Candy, in moderation, can be part of low-fat eating. In fact, an occasional sweet treat helps you stick to a healthy eating plan." - Annette B. Natow, Ph.D., R.D., author of The Fat Counter and The Fat Attack Plan. Cholesterol Q. What is the level of cholesterol in a 1.65 oz. bar of milk chocolate? A. The American Heart Association recommends that daily cholesterol intake not exceed 300 mg. A chocolate bar is actually low in cholesterol. A 1.65 oz. bar contains only 12 mg! A one oz piece of cheddar cheese contains 30 mg of cholesterol - more than double the amount found in a chocolate bar. Sodium Q. What is the level of sodium in a one oz milk chocolate bar? A. According to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the maximum Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for sodium is 1,100 to 3,300 mg daily. A 1.5 oz milk chocolate bar contains 41 mg, while the same size dark chocolate bar contains only 5 mg On the other hand, a 1.5 oz serving of iced devil's food cake has a whopping 241 mg - many times more than chocolate bars. Fat Q. How much fat is there in a 1.5 oz. chocolate bar? A. Health professionals and nutritionists suggest that calories from fat should account for no more than 30% of your daily caloric intake. A 1.5 oz. milk chocolate bar contains 13 grams of fat; a dark chocolate bar of the same weight contains 12. Acne: No Link to Chocolate Over the past two decades, clinical studies have exonerated chocolate as a cause or exacerbating factor in the development or persistence of acne. In fact, many dermatologists doubt that diet plays any significant role in acne. At the University of Missouri, student volunteers with mild to moderate acne each consumed nearly 20 ounces of chocolate over a 48 hour period. Examination of lesions on the fifth day of the test and again on the seventh day showed no new lesions other than those that might be expected based upon the usual variations the subjects had exhibited during several weeks of observation prior to the test. In a research study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, a group of 65 subjects were fed chocolate bars containing nearly ten times the amount of chocolate liquor as a normal 1.5 oz commercially available chocolate bar. A control group ate a bar that tasted like chocolate, but actually contained no chocolate liquor. At the conclusion of the test, the average acne condition of those eating the chocolate was virtually identical to that of the controls, who had eaten the imitation bars. Chocolate and Allergy It is possible for a person to be allergic to any food, including chocolate. But recent evidence suggests that allergy to chocolate may be relatively rare. The actual incidence of allergic sensitivity to chocolate is far less common than positive reactions to skin scratch tests would seem to indicate. In at least one double-blind study to determine the correlation positive skin tests for chocolate allergy and the manifestation of clinically observable symptoms, researchers could find only one patient out of a possible 500 who showed both a positive response to the skin test and an objective clinical reaction after eating chocolate. To confirm food allergy or food sensitivity, a "challenge" of the food in question is administered. To yield accurate results, the challenge should be conducted under double-blind conditions; that is, neither the investigator nor the patient knows in advance whether the food administered is the suspected substance or a placebo. This allows for objective evaluation of clinical symptoms. According to S. Allan Bock, M.D., a researcher in food allergy at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, evaluation of hundreds of patients at that institution has shown no confirmed allergic reaction to chocolate during double-blind challenges. Caffeine and Theobromine Caffeine and theobromine belong to a group of substances known as methylxanthines. Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee, tea, cola and, to some degree, cocoa beans. It may also be added to cola drinks and is a component of certain over-the- counter and prescription medications. Theobromine is found in cocoa beans; tea contains trace amounts. Caffeine The amount of caffeine ingested when people eat chocolate in normal quantities is very small. One ounce of milk chocolate, for example, contains 6 mg of caffeine, little more than the amount found in a cup of decaffeinated coffee. Moreover, there have been no reports in the scientific literature of any health problems among children or adults as a result of the caffeine consumed in chocolate. Theobromine Although theobromine is chemically related to caffeine, it lacks caffeine's stimulant effect on the central nervous system (CNS). In fact, theobromine is virtually inert as a CNS stimulant. Despite the weakness of theobromine's effect on the brain, many people have mistakenly assumed that it is effective in warding off fatigue and sleep, especially when it is consumed in combination with caffeine, as in chocolate. To test this assumption, researchers compared the effect of caffeine, theobromine and a placebo in a clinical study. They found that theobromine administered in a dose of 500 mg (the amount of theobromine in approximately 11 oz of milk chocolate consumed in one sitting) did not increase pulse rate significantly more than the placebo. Caffeine, when compared to theobromine and the placebo, produced significant CNS stimulation. In a double-blind clinical study, subjects ingested measured quantities of caffeine and theobromine, separately and together, at random. Caffeine altered the subjects' own estimates of the time it took to fall asleep, as well as the soundness of sleep, in a dose-dependent fashion. A dose of 300 mg. of theobromine, however, had no detectable effect on sleep. When administered in combination with caffeine, theobromine neither increased nor decreased the sleep effects of caffeine. Dental Caries Tooth decay has become less of a problem for American children over the last 25 years. Between 1960 and 1980 the incidence of cavities dropped by 50%. Today, one-third of all Americans of college age have never had a single cavity, thanks largely to fluoride delivered in water systems, toothpastes and professional fluoride treatments. Fluoride, good oral hygiene, and professional check-ups and prophylactic treatments are keys to minimizing the incidence of tooth decay. Diet is another factor. It is widely accepted that all foods containing "fermentable carbohydrate" have the potential to contribute to caries formation. Fermentable carbohydrate is present in most starches and all sugars, including those that occur naturally in foods and those added in processed foods. The frequency and duration of tooth exposure to fermentable carbohydrate have been identified as a factor in caries. Although chocolate contains fermentable carbohydrates, a number of dental research studies suggest that chocolate may be less apt to promote tooth decay than has been traditionally believed. Research at the Forsyth Dental Center in Boston has shown that chocolate has the ability to offset the acid-producing potential of the sugar it contains. Acid, produced by certain oral bacteria that digest, or "ferment", sugars, may damage tooth enamel and cause decay. Other theories have been advanced to explain the fact that chocolate appears to be less cariogenic (cavity-producing) than its fermentable carbohydrate content would seem to indicate. In a study conducted at the Eastman Dental Center, certain chocolate products tested were found to be among the snack foods contributing least to tooth decay. The researchers reported that milk chocolate's protein, calcium and phosphate content may provide protective effects on tooth enamel. In addition, because of its natural fat content, chocolate clears the mouth relatively faster than other confections; this is important because the time fermentable carbohydrate remains n contact with tooth surfaces has a bearing on the food's cariogenic potential. Weight Control Contrary to popular stereotype, most overweight people do not eat excessive amounts of cake, cookies, confections or other foods containing sugar. Their sugar intake tends, in fact, to be below average. More important in controlling weight is the total number of calories consumed each day and the amount of energy expended in physical activity. Overweight children, for example, are generally less active than those of normal weight; thus, they may remain obese even when their caloric intake is reasonable or even limited. Moreover, many people overestimate the calories in chocolate. A 1.5 oz milk chocolate bar contains approximately 220 calories, low enough to incorporate into a weight control diet. The occasional chocolate confection may also reduce the possibility of severe bingeing, which can occur as a result of feeling deprived of highly satisfying foods such as chocolate. The Tortilla Guy
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1. Chocolate is one of the most popular foods around and is highly unlikely to ever go out of fashion. 2. The word 'Chocolate' comes from the Aztec word, 'cacahuatl' or ‘xocolatl’. This means 'bitter water'. 3. Chocolate is derived from Cocoa Beans. It was Cacao originally, but became Cocoa as a result of misspelling. 4. Cocoa Trees require warm, moist climates and are largely found in West Africa - Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria. The scientific term for the Cocoa Tree is 'Theobroma Cacao'. This is the Greek term for 'Food for the Gods'. 5. Cocoa Trees produce pods and each pod contains about 20 to 50 Cocoa Beans. There are different varieties of Cocoa Beans with different flavors, and, just like different grapes are used to make different wines, different Cocoa Beans are used to make different kinds of Chocolates. Cocoa Beans are fermented, dried, roasted, and ground before being used to produce chocolate. 6. The Mayans and Aztecs believed that the Cocoa Beans originated from Paradise and would bring wisdom and power to anyone consuming them. 7. The Aztecs mixed Chocolate with Chilies, Cornmeal, and Hallucinogenic Mushroom. It was a bitter brew! 8. The precious Cocoa Beans were used as a currency and as a unit of calculation in the Mayan and Aztec Cultures. 9. Emperor Montezuma of Mexico partook a Chocolate drink before entering his harem. This gave rise to the notion of Chocolate having aphrodisiac properties. The Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova was another fellow who subscribed to this notion. There is some truth to the idea though, since Chocolate contains hundreds of chemicals including the feel-good stimulants - Caffeine, Theobromine, and Phenyethylamine. 10. However the amount of Caffeine in Chocolate is very little - about 5 to 10 milligrams of caffeine in one ounce of bittersweet chocolate, 5 milligrams in milk chocolate, and 10 milligrams in a six-ounce cup of cocoa. Compare this to 100-150 milligrams found in a cup of coffee. 11. Theobromine helps boost low blood-sugar levels and another chemical, Chromium, helps to control blood sugar. 12. Theobromine, however, is highly toxic to dogs, cats, and other household pets. It overstimulates their cardiac and nervous systems, and can cause instant death. 13. For humans though, Chocolate is a wonderful energy source. Napoleon supposedly carried along Chocolate on his military campaigns, and always ate it to restore energy. Nowadays Sports-persons are often given Chocolate energy bars after sporting activities to restore carbohydrates. 14. Even though Chocolate is high in fat, it does not appear to raise blood cholesterol. 15. Despite the popular, lingering myth, Chocolate does not cause acne. Acne is usually due to an improper diet or a hormone imbalance. 16. Also, contrary to another popular myth, Chocolates are not responsible for causing headaches. Headaches, again, have different reasons - stress, hunger, irregular sleep patterns, and hormone changes. 17. Allergies to chocolate are very uncommon. 17. Cocoa butter, which is the fat extract from roasted and crushed Cocoa Beans, is often used as a massage cream. 18. It is also used to make White, Caffeine-less Chocolate. 19. Cocoa Beans were first brought to Europe by the Spanish Conquistadors in 1528. 20. Chocolate soon became very popular and was taken as a sweet drink with sugar and vanilla. 21. Henri Nestle of Switzerland was the first to create Milk Chocolate by adding condensed milk to the mixture when making chocolate bars. 22. Rudolphe Lindt of Switzerland in 1879 was the first to develop a method to give Chocolate a smooth consistency. 23. Chocolate has over 500 flavor components. This is double the amount found in strawberry and vanilla. 24. Chocolate is a great economy booster. Annual world consumption of cocoa beans averages approximately 600,000 tons per year. Consumers worldwide spend more than $20 billion a year on Chocolate. 25. Chocolate syrup was used for blood in the famous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "Psycho". This scene, which is of 45 seconds, actually took 7 days to shoot. 26. Chocolate appears in literature - 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' by Roald Dahl, ‘Like Water for Chocolate' by Laura Esquivel, and 'Chocolat' by Joanne Harris. 27. Some amusing quotes about Chocolate: i. Forget love-- I'd rather fall in chocolate!!! - Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation ii. I never met a chocolate I didn't like. - Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation The Tortilla Guy
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White Chocolate is not chocolate Absolutely correct. White chocolate is made from whole milk, sugar and cocoa butter but has no non-fat cocoa solids. White chocolate is even made with vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter. The Tortilla Guy
Some Facts About Chocolate