If you thought you knew all about chocolate, think again.
- Chocolate comes from the Mayan civilisation where they made beverages called xocolatl. It meant “bitter water” from the cacao tree. The earliest documented use is around 1200 B.C.
- A study last year found that a bar of dark chocolate makes blood vessels more flexible, keeps arteries free and helps reduce chances of heart attacks.
- Chocolate was also an important luxury good throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and cacao beans were often used as a currency by the Aztecs.
- Mars Inc. was the first to produce white chocolate within the United States. White chocolate does not contain any theobromine, and can be easily consumed by animals.
- The three main varieties of cacao beans used in chocolate are criollo, forastero and trinitario, with the former being the rarest and the most expensive.
- The finest, plain-dark chocolate contains at least 70% cocoa, whereas milk chocolate usually contains up to 50%. High-quality white chocolate couvertures contain only about 33% cocoa.