We all love the taste of chocolate, even the texture and mouth feel. Most of us probably eat it every day, or at least several times a week. It is one of the most beloved food products in the world and many would say that they cannot live without it.
Most of us probably feel we know chocolate pretty well by now, as it is a regular part of our lives. However, there are many fascinating facts about the world of chocolate that most do not know. Below are some interesting facts about chocolate, some of these facts are bizarre, some downright silly.
Just What Does Chocolate Mean
According to Hershey there is no standard in the United States for Dark Chocolate, however, there are standards for Milk Chocolate and Semisweet chocolate. In some countries the standards are different. The UK is said to have slightly higher chocolate contents in most of their confections. In the USA, however, Milk Chocolate only has to contain about ten percent chocolate liquor, whereas Semisweet chocolate has to contain at least thirty-five percent chocolate liquor. Milk chocolate, which has slightly different rules, must contain at least twenty percent Cocoa Butter.
The history of chocolate pretty much begins with the Mayans. Cacao beans were so valuable to them that they were used as currency. It is said that ten beans could buy a rabbit, or even a prostitute. And one hundred beans were enough to buy a slave, though slavery in those days was a much different institution in many ways. When the Aztecs came along they adopted these traditions and continued using cacao beans as currency. People would buy everything from livestock, to food and tools with the beans and some people actually created counterfeit beans using clay. Generally only the richer people drank chocolate regularly though, because drinking your money is expensive.
Chocolate contains a higher portion of Theobromine than anything in nature. Theobromine is similar to Caffeine, but it has a milder stimulant effect. Some preliminary research has shown that it may also be helpful for suppressing coughs. While Theobromine has long been used to treat issues such as blood pressure, and is being tested for its use in fighting cancer, you can have too much of a good thing.
By The Cup
The Aztec rulers and higher class drank a ton of hot chocolate; Montezuma himself was reported to have drunk about fifty cups of chocolate a day. While a normal cup of chocolate wouldn’t contain too much caffeine, the chocolate the Aztecs drank was extremely dark, combine that with the sheer intake and he must have been incredibly wired. What is truly fascinating though is that they did not drink hot chocolate, they drank it cold. They did not drink it with sugar, and it was actually the Spaniards who first added sugar to the drink. The Aztecs would pour the mixture back and forth from pitchers until it got really foamy and believed the foam was the best part.
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