Sweet Facts: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Chocolate

Sweet Facts: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Chocolate

Chocolate, a universal guilty pleasure, has a fascinating history and an array of intriguing facts associated with its creation and consumption. As with many beloved treats, there is more to this treat than meets the eye. Discover five sweet facts you didn’t know about chocolate in the article below.

Chocolate Originates From a Fruit

Although we rarely associate candy bars with fruits, authentic chocolate comes from one—the cacao fruit! These fruit trees produce large pods which usually contain 30 to 50 cacao beans. We don’t consider chocolate bars fruit because of the extensive processing that occurs after harvesting cacao beans. Generally, chocolate bars contain higher amounts of added sugars, milk, and other ingredients.

Bonus Fact

Most of the world’s cacao trees grow in the Amazon in South America and on the coast of West Africa.

Making Cocoa Takes Weeks

Transforming cacao beans into cocoa is a labor-intensive process that takes quite a while—another sweet fact you didn’t know about chocolate. Cocoa farmers must tend to the cacao tree and harvest cacao pods to obtain the beans. Afterward, the farmers ferment the beans for around a week, then leave them in the sun to dry out. 

After all that, the process continues for another week as the beans undergo roasting and grinding into a fine powder. Chocolate makers take the fine powder and use it to produce cocoa powder and unsweetened bars that chocolatiers transform into the chocolate we know and love.  

Hot Cocoa Dates Back to Ancient Times

It may interest you to hear, regarding the fascinating history of chocolate, that the first recorded use of cocoa beans was by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans over 3,000 years ago. They ground the cacao beans and mixed them with water to create a beverage that they used for medicinal purposes and consumed during religious ceremonies.

Neither one of these ancient societies made the drink as sweet as it is today. Instead, ancient hot cocoa often included spices, such as chili powder and vanilla, to create a bitter and spicy drink.

Baker’s Chocolate Isn’t Sweet 

Contrary to popular belief, baker’s chocolate isn’t the same as the sweet one we indulge in. Baker’s chocolate is unsweetened, pure chocolate liquor made from ground cacao beans, while traditional chocolate contains sugar, cocoa butter, and other additives. 

Most individuals use baker’s chocolate when additional sweeteners like white or brown sugar are a part of the recipe. Doing so allows bakers to control their creations’ sugar content and flavor profile. 

Bonus Fact

Often, bakers use unsalted butter rather than salted when making their delicious goods. They add the salt separately when necessary.

Eating Chocolate Makes You Happy

We’ve all heard that chocolate is a mood booster, and science backs that claim. Chocolate contains serotonin, which helps regulate our mood and increase feelings of joy. Therefore, making chocolate the perfect comfort food; so there’s no need for an excuse to indulge in a chocolatey treat when you’re feeling down!

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