I admit it! I am a chocoholic who sort of has her addiction under control. Mostly, sort of, I think? As long as I don't have that first piece of milk chocolate, I'm fine but if I eat even a small bit, I'm off in the deep end where I want to inhale as much chocolate as I can in one sitting.
I love and adore chocolate ice cream. I prefer chocolate peanut butter or chocolate with ginger, or chocolate with anything in it. I will eat it plain but I add things to it just because I have to have something in it.
Chocolate is one of those items from Central and South America that was brought back by the Europeans. Chocolate comes from the Theobroma cacoa tree. Theobroma is Greek for food of the Gods. Although it is grown in the tropics, about 70% of the worlds chocolate supply comes from Africa.
A tree can produce about 2000 football shaped pods per year. The pods grow from both the branches and the trunk. The pods mature over the year rather than all at once. There is a white pulp surrounding the bitter seeds that is used in drinks and is both sweet and tart. It is the seeds that are processed into chocolate.
The process starts at harvesting when they are split open, placed in a earthen pit or wooden bin, covered and allowed to ferment to help the chocolate flavor develop. The better quality the bean, the shorter fermentation time needed. Once ready, they are air dried and then shipped off to a factory for processing.
Now for some interesting facts:
1. Chocolate was originally used by the warriors, priests, and nobility in Aztec society and was so revered it was used as "money". You could purchase a slave for 100 cocoa beans.
2. Originally hot cocoa had no sugar mixed it. It was only after the drink made it to Europe in the 1500's that sugar and spices were added to make the drink extremely popular.
3. It takes about 400 cocoa beans to make one pound of chocolate.
4. White chocolate is not real chocolate because it has no cocoa solids or liqueurs in it.
5. The smell of chocolate increases Theta brain waves which helps with relaxation.
6. M & M's were created during World War II so soldiers could enjoy chocolate without a mess.
7. Every second, Americans eat 100 pounds of chocolate.
8. The worlds largest chocolate bar weighed 12,770 pounds.
9. Eating dark chocolate reduces the risk of heart disease by one-third.
10. In 2013, Belgium issued a limited edition chocolate flavored stamp.
11. There is a pill that can make your gas smell like chocolate.
12. German chocolate cake is named after its creator, Sam German, and not the country.
13. Nutella was invented in World War II when its Italian creator added hazelnuts to his chocolate supply to extend it.
14. Chocolate is the only edible substance with a melting point of just below normal human body temperature. That is why it melts in your mouth.