'Chocolate' is one word that is mouth watering. Who could resist the delicious aroma of melted chocolate or a crunchy chocolate bar? Did you know that chocolate has 500 flavour components and a number of types, to suit every palate? In fact, chocolate's melting point is just below your body temperature, so it melts in your mouth! The melting increases our brain activity and heart rates, making us get excited and wanting even more!
Where are chocolates from?
So where is this yummy food obtained from? It actually comes from the cacao tree whose pods produce about 20 to 40 beans each. The name of the tree comes from a Greek word 'Theobroma Cacao' which means 'Food of the Gods'. Isn't that very appropriate for chocolate? Each tree produces about 5 pounds of chocolate per year and principal growing areas include West Africa, Brazil, Ecuador and the Indies. These beans, after fermenting, are dried, cleaned and finally roasted to give chocolate liquor.
The history of chocolate
Can you believe it? The South Mexico Olmec tribe back in 1000 B.C used to eat chocolate all the time! It was a staple diet for them. You might think that chocolate is expensive for you today, but did you know that Cacao or chocolates beans were used as currency and as a unit of calculation by Aztec and Maya tribes? But just because you like it, doesn't mean your pets will. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and other domestic animals. The Theo bromine found in chocolate is a stimulant, and can be too much for small animals.
The name of the tree comes from a Greek word 'Theobroma Cacao' which means 'Food of the Gods'.
How chocolates are made
Chocolate liquor is further blended and processed to produce the various kinds of chocolate we get in the shops. Chocolate liquor plus cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla flavouring are processed to produce dark, flavoured chocolate. Chocolate undergoes a process called conching. Here a container is filled with metal beads and chocolate is added. The beads help to grind the chocolate and this chocolate is kept in liquid state by the heat caused during the friction. This process helps to make the chocolate smooth and can go on for four to seventy two hours. Different chocolate to liquor ratios produce sweet, semisweet and bittersweet chocolate.
The positive side to chocolate
Chocolate is also good for health. It contains essential trace element such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, B1, C, D and E. Tell your mother this and she will no longer refuse to give you some! Chocolate could be effective at lowering blood pressure, increasing blood flow and positively bolster the body's insulin sensitivity. Tell her to join in and eat it as well! But remember, dark chocolate is much healthier than any other type. It is a great energy source and contradictory to many beliefs, doesn't cause acne, headaches or obesity. Chocolate contains high-quality anti-oxidants that can protect you from developing cancer and heart disease.
Overall, it seems that, as part of a balanced diet, we might all benefit from eating 100g of chocolate per day - but better to make sure it is dark and expensive, and eat it after a meal when you are full and less likely to over indulge!
Chocolates for every occasion
You can also never run out of uses or excuses for chocolates. It is used to celebrate any occasions or could substitute a gift for a dinner party, special day, and even for people who aren't well. Yummy chocolate fountains and fondues are usually found at weddings, at some restaurants and also used on other special occasions. We can use chocolate curls and grated chocolate to garnish food items while melted chocolate is used for cake toppings and dessert. Chocolate is a symbol of freedom and friendship. More reason to love it like you already do!