Chocolate Trivia Collected from our Newsletters
- The stage blood in the black and white Hitchcock thriller "Psycho" was really chocolate syrup.
- The word "chocolate" comes from the Aztec word "xocoatl". The Aztecs, and before them the Mayans, used to drink spicy chocolate flavored with chilis, achiote, and vanilla.
- The famous "Three Musketeers" candy bar got its name in 1932 when it was originally made of three pieces of candy: one chocolate, one vanilla, and one strawberry. One for all and all for one!
- It takes about 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate. That means there are thousands of beans in our Mt. McKinley Mountain of Chocolate alone!
- Theobroma cacao, the scientific name for the tree that cocoa and chocolate are made from, means “Food of the Gods”.
- Many of us believed an old myth that chocolate causes acne. The good news for teenagers everywhere is that modern research showns that's just not true. The only effect of chocolate on your face is to induce a smile.
- In early America, sugar was a rare and prized ingredient, so gifts of sweets were especially generous and meaningful. Marzipan, sweetmeats, and sugar plums seem old fashioned now but the tradition lives on in candy, cake, and especially chocolate.
- Long before Easter was a holiday, eggs symbolized the rebirth of everything living in Spring. In the 17th century people decorated eggs and made artificial eggs. Many materials were used including fabulous gems and precious metals. Then in the early 1800s someone got the idea of using chocolate which caught on in a big way!
- Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States of America, loved chocolate fiercely. He even wrote in 1785 to John Adams, the 2nd president that, "The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain."
- Chocolate is wonderful for people but keep it away from your pets. A chemical in chocolate called theobromine is poisonous to dogs and cats. Darker chocolate contains more theobromine so it's more dangerous. A single ounce of baking chocolate can kill a small dog. If your dog ever eats chocolate, the sooner you get it to a vet, the more likely that he or she will be saved. The good news is cats usually won't eat chocolate - they're too picky.
- Most people know that chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao fruit, but how many of us know anything about the fruit itself? The pod looks somewhat like a large yellow, orange, or red papaya and grows directly from the trunk. Each tree makes about 20 pods. The fruit has a hard rind and is white, creamy, tart, sweet, and delicious but because it's so soft inside it's never exported. If you happen to visit the Amazon be sure to try it!
- "Candy" is such a delightful word — so where does it come from? In modern usage it means a sweet made from sugar syrup but it was originally borrowed as so many English words are. As early as the year 1274 the term sucre candi was known in Old French. That term probably derived from the Arabic qandi which came from Persian's qand and that came from the Sanskrit word khanda. Even older derivations are thought to possibly come from Tamil in Southern India.
- Anyone who's read a newspaper in the last 5 years has heard that chocolate might be good for your health. We've been bombarded with terms like flavanoids, antioxidants, immune support, and nitric oxide synthesis. Is all this hype true? Should we eat more chocolate for our health? To paraphrase the famous scientist Frank Oppenheimer, "Chocolate is a lot like sex. It's got a practical purpose, but that's not why people want it normally."
- Candy has a long history with strange brands we might not even recognize any more. Who remembers "Nik-L-Nip", a package of 5 wax bottles filled with sweet syrups? Or how about Abba-Zaba, Chicken Dinner, Fizzers, Mallo Cups, Now and Later, Sugar Mama, and Yoo-Hoo? Believe it or not there are entire websites devoted to remembering nostalgic candies from the last century. Look up your favorites and let us know what you find!
- One of many reasons chocolate is so appealing is the glorious sensation when it literally melts in the mouth. But did you know that cocoa butter can form in any of six different crystaline structures? The one called "Form 5" is the best kind for candymaking because it has just the right melting point to keep it solid at room temperature and liquid on the tongue. Mmmm!
- How can you store your chocolate? It should be kept between 59°F – 63°F. If it gets too cold or hot or changes temperature often it can form a white coating that looks like mold. But don't worry, it's just a film of cocoa butter crystals that look funny but are completely harmless. If kept well, chocolate can be stored for at least a year. But how long can you really stand not eating your Wild Berry Centers? They'll be gone long before then.
- Romantics promote the legend that chocolate is a love chemical. You know, one of those mysterious substances that encourage, um, you know what. So is it true? Well, partially yes and no. While chocolate has no proven ability to directly arouse passions, it certainly does lift one's spirits which can lead to the same result. It is associated with kindness, generosity, and closeness, it smells heavenly, and it even melts in the mouth sensuously. If you're looking for a love potion, this is probably your best bet.
- Chocolate as fuel for your car? Well, it's not so far fetched as it sounds. Researcher Lynne Mackaskie performed an experiment where she fed candy to a specific kind of bacteria. The output was perfectly clean hydrogen gas which she used to power a small fan. Maybe someday we'll save the planet with chocolate. In the meantime, I can think of more obvious things to do with it.
- Would you rather have chocolate or money? The ancient Aztecs could have both! In the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, Aztecs used cocoa beans as cash in the marketplace. A single bean could buy a little food and a few hundred beans could buy a one pound gold statue.
- Chocolate in its solid forms of candy, cake, and ice cream are relatively modern developments. The first known uses of the cacao bean were by the Aztec people around 1100 BC. They made a bitter drink called xocoatl. Recently even earlier evidence of a fermented, alcoholic drink from the fruit of the cacao tree was found in Honduras. Archaeologists trace this back to 1400 BC.
- The common jelly bean, so small and humble, was created around the time of the American Civil War by Schrafft's candy company as a treat for soldiers. Now jelly beans are sold by the billions every year.
- Remember those little chalky candy hearts printed with short romantic sayings? Did you know they're still produced at the amazing rate of over 8,000,000,000 per year? The entire year's supply is sold out in the six weeks leading up to Valentines Day â€” then production begins again for next year.
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