Free Chocolate Information
21 things you must know about chocolate!
- Chocolate is made from the fruit of the cacao tree. Cacao pods contain nibs that are crushed to make unsweetened chocolate.
- The scientific name of the cacao tree, Theobroma, means “food of the gods.”
- When the cacao nibs are crushed, there are fats and solids remaining. The fats are called cocoa butter. The solids are ground into cocoa powder.
- There are 40-50 million people who depend on cocoa for their livelihood.
- Chocolate bars may have “% Cacao” or “% Cocoa” printed on the label. This percentage refers to the total content of the cacao (or cocoa) solids.
- White Chocolate does not contain cocoa solids but can be called chocolate by U.S. FDA standards. It must contain cocoa butter.
- More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold every year for Valentine's Day.
- James Baker started America’s first chocolate company in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1765, based on the advice of John Hannon, a penniless Irish immigrant.
- "Fair Trade" chocolate means farmers and laborers are paid a fair price for the product rather than being exploited. Products become Fair Trade Certified based on the standards determined by Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International.
- Organic chocolate is made from ingredients, including the cacao bean, that are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or genetic modifications. In the US, the USDA must inspect a farm before its products can be labeled organic.
- Hawaii is the only US state that grows cacao beans to produce chocolate.
- The world's first chocolate candy was made by Dutch chocolate-maker Conrad Van Houten in 1828. He pressed the fat from roasted cacao beans to isolate the cocoa butter, and then added it to cocoa powder and sugar.
- It has been reported that Napoleon carried chocolate with him on his military campaigns, and ate it when he needed quick energy.
- ‘Single-origin’ chocolate indicates that the cocoa beans used to produce the bar are from one region or country.
- In countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast, people rarely eat chocolate because it is worth more to them as a trade product than as a food.
- Cacao is dried in the sun for about 7 days before shipped from the country of origin to the chocolate manufacturer.
- The largest cacao producing countries are Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia.
- Chocolate Liquor is the ground up "nib" of the cocoa bean.
- Fermentation is an important step in the transformation of cacao beans to chocolate.
- The seed pods of the cacao tree grow directly off the trunk, not on the ends of the branches.
- Each cacao pod is about the size of a pineapple and holds thirty to fifty seeds. It takes between 400-500 seeds to make one pound of chocolate.
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