If you are an ardent chocolate lover, you would know how many roles these sweet treats play in our life, and the best part is you don't really need an occasion to eat one. Chocolates are made from cacao beans that are roasted, cracked and winnowed and processed in to these sweet delights. Cacao beans have an intense bitter taste, which is mostly why they are processed to make chocolates sweeter. Did you know making chocolate is not a piece of cake? Despite its regal background and revered status, the cacao, or cocoa, beans do not just magically turn into chocolates; it takes quite the processing.
Chocolates are known to be stress-busters, relaxants and aphrodisiacs, as they increase serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. Dark chocolates, in fact, are known to have various health benefits, thanks to the presence of about 70 percent cocoa that comes packed with nutritious antioxidants. While we don't really need reasons to love chocolates, the following facts related to them will make you want to grab one right now and some may just help you learn more about them.
1. Chocolates Are Vegetables, Well, Not Literally
Chocolate is a product of cacao beans that grow in pod-like fruits on tropical cacao trees. Cacao tree is a part of the family Malvaceae, which includes members like okra and cotton. So, one can say chocolates are indirectly vegetables.
Chocolate is a product of cacao beans that grow in pod-like fruits on tropical cacao trees
One of the main components of any chocolate is cacao, or cocoa, beans, whereas, white chocolates are made using cream or other dairy products and sugar, and may contain less than 10 percent of chocolate liqueur.
3. Chocolates Are Not Meant For Pets
Chocolates and cocoa products may be dangerous for your pet as it contains a toxic component called theobromine. While humans can easily metabolise this component, it takes time for the pets to process, which only builds up to the toxicity.
4. Chocolates Can Help Prevent Tooth Decay
Tooth decay appears when your mouth plays a home to bacteria that turn sugar into acids, further eating away the tooth's surface causing cavities. The antibacterial agents in cocoa beans tend to inhibit the growth of these bacteria and prevent tooth decay. Choose to eat dark chocolate as it contains more cocoa. However, this doesn't mean you eat chocolate daily.(Also Read: History Of Hot Chocolate)
Tooth decay appears when your mouth plays a home to bacteria that turn sugar into acids5. Growing A Cocoa Tree Is No Joke
It takes about a year for a cocoa tree to produce enough pods to make about 10 small-sized chocolate bars.
6. Know The Number Of Chocolate Flavours Available Across The Globe
It is said that chocolates have more than 500 flavours available, while wine has just about 200. Wonder how many have you tasted?
7. Cacao Beans Were Used As A Currency, Once In History
The Aztecs loved and valued cacao beans so much that they started using them as currency during the times of civilisation.(Also Read: 5 Myths About Chocolates You Should Not Believe)
The Aztecs loved and valued cacao beans so much that they started using them as currency8. Cacao Trees Are Immortal, Almost
Cacao trees, which are tropical beauties, may actually live up to 200 years. However, interestingly, they produce beans for just 25 years of their lifespan.
9. Hot Chocolate Was The First Chocolate Treat, Not The Bars
Cocoa was brewed in both Aztec and Mexico; however, it wasn't anything like the hot chocolate we get nowadays. It was primarily a bitter concoction that was often enjoyed during weddings and other occasions.
10. Then Came Our Favourite Chocolate Bars
It was only in the year 1842 that the first chocolate bar was made by one of the most popular chocolate companies.(Also Read: 6 Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate)
It was only in the year 1842 that the first chocolate bar was made11. Roasting Cocoa Beans Has A Reason
Cocoa beans contain pathogens that can be harmful for humans, plus raw cocoa beans do not taste anything like what chocolate does. Cocoa beans go through certain chemical process when roasted, and proper roasting is integral to good flavoured chocolates.
12. Chocolate Milk Could Be A Post-Workout Recovery Drink
According to a report published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, chocolate milk provides carbohydrate replenishment to your muscles.
13. Milk Chocolate Was Invented In Switzerland
Daniel Peter created milk chocolate in the year 1875. It is known that it took him eight years to get to this recipe. Condensed milk ended up becoming the key ingredient.
Grab a chocolate and thank the universe to have made this sweet treat! Enjoy!