When you think of how many steps the cocoa bean has to go through before it reaches our eager taste-buds, it’s incredible it ever gets here!
The cocoa bean pod, growing as big or bigger than our hands, contains beans which are extracted, then fermented, dried, roasted and turned into a chocolate liquer which then goes through more processing before it gets wrapped in a package and shipped to our stores…..phew.
But that’s just in today’s world!
Chocolate has been consumed in various forms for literally thousands of years. Not the commercially produced milk chcocolate that we know, love and try to avoid these days but in a much more natural form.
Here are some quick chocolate facts that have been well documented…
1. The Mayan civilization believed cacao – later the word was changed to cocoa – was a food sent to them by the Gods.
2. The Aztecs also revered and chocolate and considered it to be a food from the Gods
3. Ancient civilizations used chocolate as a healing aid for many ailments, including burns and sores.
4. There are a couple of different theories of when chocolate came to Europe but what is sure is that by the late sixteenth century, chocolate was well established in Spain and other European countries.
5. For most of the 1800’s, chcocolate was enjoyed as a drink, mixed with milk or water. In the French culture, many people still enjoy a bowl of hot chocolate for breakfast – with maybe a pain au chocolat or a croissant.
6. Chocolate contains vitamins and minerals, many of which we can use efficiently in our bodies.
7. Dark chocolate – with cocoa solids of 85% – has been scientifically shown to have anti-oxidant properties and has become a ‘heart healthy’ food. We seem to have come full circle on this one!
I go into this a bit more on my new Simply Chocolate website – Simply Chocolate – there are a few recipes for you chocaholics as well!
P.S. I found most of the fascinating facts in a book called ‘Chocolate’ by Margaret Briggs. It’s on Amazon if you’d like to check it out….