The History & Fast Facts about Chocolates....

By: Kareena Ally

Here are some interesting facts and trivia on one of our favourite past times: Chocolates . Have fun reading and remember, eat chocolates, like any other food in moderation.

Chocolate: Facts & Fiction

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans.
It comes from the cocoa tree - Theobroma - which translates to 'Food of the Gods'. Chocolates contain many of the same healthy compounds from plants including minerals (copper, iron, zinc and magnesium) and specifically an anti-oxidant called polyphenols.

  • A recent study looked at why people crave chocolate and concluded that people do not become addicted to chocolate. Rather, the study found that people desire chocolate because they enjoy the sensation of eating it!
  • Chocolate doesn't cause headaches.
    Research shows that most headaches and chocolate intake are not related.
  • Chocolate doesn't cause acne.
    This is just another myth about chocolate that has been disproved by doctors for some time.
  • Chocolates causes tooth decay? Chocolates, like any other food that contains carbohydrates, is no more or less responsible for tooth-decay, just as bread, raisin or fruit are. Interestingly, chocolates actually clears the mouth relatively quickly, reducing the time it spends in contact with the teeth.
  • Dark chocolate is healthier because it retained the highest percentage of flavanoids. Milk chocolate is more diluted and highly processed. The beneficial flavonoids, which is what makes up the pungent taste, is lost the more the chocolate is processed.

What has love got to do with Chocolates?

  • Chocolate contains high level of phenylethylamine, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that promotes feelings of rapture, associated with being in love.
  • Chocolate is old-school Viagra.
    Montezuma, the Aztec Emperor, reputedly drowned a cup of chocolate before entering his harem. It was a drink meant for only royalty and his male court members. Casanova, renowned for seducing many women, called chocolate the “elixir of love” and drank it instead of champagne.
  • French doctors prescribed chocolate to women patients for a broken heart. Scientifically, chocolate is known to have anti-depressant qualities, which is linked to the small quantity of serotonin found in chocolates. Serotonin is a substance, which is found naturally in the brain and affects our mood.
  • Nuns, at one time, were forbidden to eat it because of its sexual reputation.
  • On average, $750 million worth of chocolates are sold in United States on Valentine's Day.

The Evolution of Chocolate

          

  • Chocolate is derived from their word, “xocolatl”, which means bitter water.
  • The Aztecs made cocoa beans into a bitter tasting hot drink flavoured with chilli.
  • Hernan Cortes brought the valuable secret of xocolatl back to Spain, improving the recipe with the addition of sugar from the East Indies and vanilla procured from Mexico.
  • The Spanish court held the secret of chocolate for almost a century, reserving the beverage for royalty. The secret of chocolate finally leaked out and 'chocolate houses' began to appear throughout Europe, serving only the well-heeled this popular cocoa brew.
  • Chocolate remained exclusive and elusive to the masses till C. J. Van Houten, a Dutch found a method to remove cocoa butter by mechanical pressure and to smoothen the cocoa's sharp flavor by 'Dutching' in 1828.
  • Solid chocolate was developed by Cadbury of England in the 19th Century while a Swiss duo, Daniel Peters & Henri Nestle refined it in 1875 by adding milk to make the first milk chocolate.
  • The evolution of chocolates continues, when another Swiss, Rodolphe Lindt, developed a process called 'conching' or rolling chocolate to make it soft and smooth, in 1879 to make the first really fine chocolate.
  • Giving chocolates has royal approval! In 1900s, Queen Victoria sent special tins of chocolates to soldiers in the Boer war to wish them a Happy New Year.

Did you know?

  • Napoleon was said to have carried chocolate with him on all his military campaigns for a quick energy snack.
  • “Chocoholism” is a word coined to refer to chocolate craving.
  • In Alfred Hitchcock's black and white movie, Psycho (1950), Chocolate syrup was used to represent blood in the famous 45 seconds shower scene, which took 7 days to shoot!
  • Chocolate lethal to dogs? Approximately 2 ounces of milk chocolate can be poisonous to a 10-pound dog. This is true for cats and even other household pets. This is because they contain theobromine, which affects their heart and nervous system.

Finally, yes… Money did grow on trees! 
Once upon a time, money did grow on trees. Cocoa beans were used as currency by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations over 1400 years ago!

Dating and Romance
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