Chocolate

Some celebrate World Chocolate Day on 7 July, others prefer to wait until International Chocolate Day on 13 September.

But we think the fruit of the cacao tree should be celebrated every day.

Collecting the cacao fruit pod © David Greenwood-Haigh, Pixabay
Collecting the cacao fruit pod © David Greenwood-Haigh, Pixabay

Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed, chocolate makes it worthwhile

The word “chocolate” comes from the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to the bitter, spicy drink the Aztecs made from cacao beans. They believed the seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the God of wisdom.

Theobromine, the compound in chocolate that makes it poisonous to dogs, can kill a human as well.

Fresh cacao beans David Greenwood-Haigh, Pixabay
Fresh cacao beans © David Greenwood-Haigh, Pixabay

The good news is the lethal dose would be around 10 kilograms (22 lbs).

The ancient Maya are believed to be the first people to regularly grow cacao trees and drink chocolate. In Mayan times the cocoa bean was used as currency as it was considered to be worth more than gold dust.

cacao beans © David Greenwood-Haigh, Pixabay
Cacao beans © David Greenwood-Haigh, Pixabay

When life gives you lemons, throw them back and demand chocolate

Chocolate in moderation is good for you. Eating dark chocolate every day could reduce the risk of heart disease by improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants and can improve the function of the brain.

Save the Earth! It’s the only planet with chocolate

10 Chocolate facts

Mice prefer chocolate to cheese.

Chocolate was originally a savoury drink.

It was the Spaniards in the 16th century who, by degrees of conquest and trade brought cocoa back to Europe, using it initially as a medicine to treat abdominal pain.

When Marie Antoinette married Louis XVI she brought her own personal chocolate maker to Versailles.

Mr Cadbury started making ‘eating’ chocolate in 1824 and made the world’s first chocolate bar in 1842. By then they were selling 16 varieties of drinking chocolate and 11 different cocoas.

He was also the man responsible for linking chocolate and Valentines Day by putting Cupids and rosebuds on heart shaped boxes in 1861.

Valentine gift © Jill Wellington, Pixabay
Valentine gift © Jill Wellington, Pixabay

It seems odd but McVitie’s famous digestive biscuit, created in 1892, didn’t get its chocolate cover until 1925. Today more than 71 million packets are eaten in the UK each year. That’s around 52 biscuits a second!

Thorntons are responsible for what is possibly the world’s first edible billboard. The 860lb (390kg) sign was put up in Covent Garden, London in April 2007. The 10 enormous chocolate bunnies, 72 giant Easter eggs and 128 chocolate panels were all eaten within 3 hours.

Bounty bar © skeeze, Pixabay
Bounty bar © skeeze, Pixabay

Love ’em or loathe ’em Bounty bars made an appearance in the UK and Canada in 1951.

KitKat  © janeb13, Pixabay
KitKat © janeb13, Pixabay

The original four finger Kit Kat was created in 1935 after a worker at Rowntree’s factory in York suggested they made a snack that ‘a man could take to work in his pack’. Still popular today and voted the world’s fave chocolate bar in 2018.

KitKat bars © Medhat, Pexels
KitKat bars © Medhat, Pexels

There are only three things in life that matter – good friends, good chocolate and, oh dear, what was that other one?

And so for centuries chocolate has held pride of place in recipes across the world, with good reason.

And it seems the naughtier the name, the more popular the recipe.

Take Devil’s Food Cake for instance. It’s called that because….. well no-one’s really sure.

It first appeared in print in 1902 in the southern states of America. It was originally quite a mild flavour, then folk started adding more and more “sinful” chocolate which might have brought the devil into it.

Others think the name was because the cake was the complete opposite of the pale-but-interesting Angel Cake.

Here’s Pork Belly’s dairy-free version, presented as muffins, with the addition of a little extra spice and a dash of rum.

Devilishly good!

Devil's Food Muffins © rosemaryandporkbelly.co.uk
Devil’s Food Muffins © rosemaryandporkbelly.co.uk
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