August 2, 2012

Chocolate: Facts You Might Not Know



Biologically chocolate is a fat-filled bean that grows on small evergreen trees.

Yet we Americans indulge ourselves with it, consuming the stuff in enormous quantities. For us, chocolate is a treat, lure, toy, comfort, delight, addiction, sacrament, and reward for good behavior. Only incidentally do we think of it as nourishment.

Below are twenty facts you might not have known about chocolate.


  1. Biologically, chocolate is a bean that grows on small evergreen trees.1
  2. Nutritionally, the bean is mostly fat but contains calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin D and theobromine (a stimulating alkaloid similar to caffeine).1
  3. Beans must be dried, roasted, polished, crushed, and partially defatted before use.1
  4. Chocolate lovers can take heart in new research showing that cocoa has more health-protecting antioxidants than wine or green or black tea. (tests used cocoa powder that did not contain sugar and other ingredient).3
  5. Cocoa beans were used as a form of payment as well as a unit of calculation around 1000 A.D. In fact, following that period, all taxes were paid in cocoa beans to Feudal Aztecs.6
  6. Pre-Columbian mortals employed cacao beans as currency.1
  7. The Aztecs imbibed a cold beverage called cocaolatl—concocted of three plants native to Middle America, cacao, capsicum pepper  and maize.1
  8. Under the Aztec Emperor Montezuma, the drink made of cocoa beans was reserved for the male elite.6
  9. In 1502 Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover Cocoa beans upon landing in Nicaragua on his fourth voyage. There was no interest in it by Columbus and his entourage.6
  10. Herman Cortez shipped cacao beans back to Spain around 1519, where hot chocolate quickly became a fashionable luxury at court.1
  11. The Spanish hot chocolate had added sugar and it substituted the pepper seed with pods of vanilla.1
  12. In 1657 the first chocolate-house was opened in London by a Frenchman,      popularizing the consumption of chocolate among many classes.6
  13. Evidence of chocolate was been found in Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, N.M., the earliest indication of the tasty substance north of Mexico…5
  14. In the 1700s Louis XIV’s Spanish wife introduced chocolate to Versailles courtiers as an aphrodisiac.1
  15. England added milk to hot chocolate.1
  16. Holland and France removed the excess fat and produced powdered chocolate.1
  17. A Swiss, in 1876, invented milk chocolate candy.1
  18. Baker’s Chocolate originated in 1765 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a section of Boston, when John Hannon (sometimes spelled Hannan) began importing cocoa beans necessary formaking chocolate.4
  19. Archaeologists say they have found traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate in the Yucatan peninsula, the first time they have found ancient chocolate residue on a plate rather than a cup, suggesting it may have been used as a condiment or sauce with solid food.2
  20. Drinking chocolate was associated with a variety of rituals in ancient Central America, including weddings.5



BORING FOOD Lent Devotion #37


CANDIED VIOLETS: Remembering My Mother on Her Birthday


THE OVENS on Mt. Desert Island, Maine


1Grazing  Blissed out at Phipps: Dove Bars to mighty mousse, Elliott Mackle, Creative Loafing, April 6, 1985, pp 4-B


3Findings were reported in the December 25 Issue Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.   AARP Bulletin, January 2004, pg 21

4Tidbits, AmericanProfile, March 18-24, 2012, pp 16




1 Comment »

  1. very nice, now to go raid the pantry must be some healthy chocolate there

    Comment by 11cvmshistoricthoughts — August 6, 2012 @ 8:53 am | Reply

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