Nine facts you didn’t know about chocolate
July 7 is celebrated as World Chocolate Day. There is a reason for the date: It is said that chocolate was first introduced to Europe on July 7, 1550. Today it is greatly loved all over the world in many different forms, with the basic kinds being dark, milk and white. Chocolate lovers enjoy it in various forms, like cake, cookies, ice-cream and so on. But do you know there is more to chocolate than just being a delicious food item. We bet you didn’t know about some of these interesting facts about the delicious treat. Read to know more about chocolate and its chocolaty world.
- Chocolate is a vegetable: Well, sort of, since chocolate is related to okra, or bhindi. It comes from the cacao bean, which grows on the cacao tree, or Theobroma cacao, which is of the family that includes bhindi!
- White chocolate is not really chocolate: While it contains cocoa butter, which is extracted from the cocoa bean, white chocolate does not contain any cocoa solids of chocolate liquor, which give chocolate that characteristic brown colour.
- The first chocolate treat was not sweet: As far as historians know, chocolate was originally served up by the Aztecs and Mexicans as a kind of tea. It was dark and bitter and contained no sugar. Most often, it was used for ceremonies as a special drink.
- Chocolate was money: The Aztecs not only drank hot chocolate, they used the cocoa bean as currency. It was so highly valued that people could buy slaves with it!
- Marie Antoinette drank chocolate: She told the people of France to eat – no, not cake – brioche, a sweet bread that was served in the palace. We don’t know if she ate it too, but the queen loved sipping on hot chocolate well-sweetened with sugar, and often served it at parties at the palace of Versailles.
- The Swiss invented milk chocolate: Think chocolate and you will probably fly – in your mind – to Switzerland. And it was in that country that Daniel Peter first invented milk chocolate in 1975.
- The cocoa tree is old!: You must have read that cocoa trees are getting more rare by the day. But did you know that they can live up to 200 years in one lifetime? Sadly, they produce cacao beans for only about 20 years.
- Chocolate melts easily: The human body has a temperature of 37 degree celsius. Chocolate melts just below that point, at about 30-32 degree celsius. That is why a piece of chocolate melts so deliciously on your tongue.
- Chocolate is a superfood: Loaded with antioxidants, 70 percent dark chocolate also contains minerals and dietary fibre, according to scientific studies. You could drink green tea or red wine, or eat blueberries to get that same amount of antioxidants, but isn’t chocolate better? Better yet, 60 percent dark chocolate also boosts memory!
Can’t get over chocolate fever, there is more to explore. Check Varun Inamdar’s video where he shares his most-loved chocolate pairings.