For the last few centuries, humans around the world have shared a common vice.
A vice that millions is spent on each year, a vice that is gifted, and a vice that tastes great.
OK, so it is probably unfair to call it a vice. More like a really tasty and enjoyable snack.
Since cocoa was first cultivated by the Maya people in Central America around 2,600 years ago, humans have been unable to say no to the stuff, and it remains a core part of popular culture today.
So, if you have always wanted to learn more about chocolate, or think you know all there is to know, read on for five cool facts about this delicious treat!
It is The World’s Most Popular Gift
While the stats for 2022 remain to be seen, chocolate as a product has consecutively been the world’s most popular gift in the US from 2015-2021. Indeed, 80% of Americans reported loving chocolate, with about 50% stating that they were chocoholics and couldn’t live without it everyday! Going into 2023, for Valentine’s Day alone, it is predicted that around 600,000 tiny chocolate hearts will be bought and consumed in the USA. That’s a lot of chocolate!
Gifts relating to chocolate are popular too, with searches online for ‘custom chocolate gift box,’ ‘chocolate bombs,’ and ‘chocolate making classes’ being the most searched gift options related to chocolate between 2019 and 2021.
Chocolate was highly prized and used as money in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. The Aztecs used cacao seeds to prepare a bitter beverage that was only offered to royalty and during religious events because they thought the seeds were a gift from the god of knowledge. After the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, they soon understood the worth of chocolate and started utilising it as a form of payment in commerce. It wasn’t until much later that chocolate was accepted as a sweet pleasure by everybody.
It’s Good For You!
Contrary to popular belief, chocolate can actually be good for you! In particular, studies have shone a light on dark chocolate and its numerous health benefits. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, which help protect the body against damage caused by free radicals. It’s also been shown to improve heart health, reduce stroke risk, and lower blood pressure.
Thank The UK For The Bars
While chocolate has been consumed in various forms for thousands of years, the first chocolate bar as people know it today was made in England in 1847. The company responsible for this innovation was J.S. Fry & Sons, who used a hydraulic press to create a smooth, moldable chocolate that could be shaped into bars. This new form of chocolate was an instant hit, and soon other companies began creating their own chocolate bars.
That’s A BIG Bar!
The biggest chocolate bar in the world weighed in at over 12,000 pounds.
In 2011, a team of chocolatiers in Armenia created the world’s largest chocolate bar, weighing in at over 12,000 pounds. The whopping chocolate bar measured an impressive 224 inches long, 110 inches wide, and 10 inches thick and was made using over 4,000 pounds of cocoa. The record-breaking chocolate bar was eventually cut into small pieces and distributed to children in the region.