Sweet Facts

50 Things You Don’t Know About Chocolate

Sure, chocolate may be your favorite sweet treat. But did you know it used to be used as currency?

50 Things You Don’t Know About Chocolate

Sure, chocolate may be your favorite sweet treat. But did you know it used to be used as currency?

Nothing beats the smooth and rich taste of a piece of chocolate. Just about everyone around the globe is a fan of chocolate, which is why it’s such a huge multi-billion dollar industry. But, there are tons of hidden facts about chocolate that just make it oh-so sweeter. Did you know that dark chocolate is actually at the top of our 30 best Anti-Inflammatory Foods? It’s actually been proven in a Louisiana State University study to assist in insulin resistance and inflammation relief.

If you want to learn more about the world’s favorite dessert, check out these facts below. Preferably while munching on a dark chocolate bar—dark chocolate is one of our 20 Best Low-Carb Snacks for Weight Loss.

1

Chocolate Was a Form of Currency in the Mayan Times

Saving money

According to Smithsonian.com, cacao beans, which are the beans used to make chocolate, were so sought after during the Mayan and Aztec times that it was used as a form of payment. Research from the publication also states that some people would go as far as making counterfeit beans with clay.

2

Europe Accounts for More Than Half of the World’s Chocolate Consumption

Europeans are the world’s truest chocolate lovers. Research from Forbes shows that the largest chocolate-consuming countries are Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland.

3

The World’s Biggest Chocolate Bar Weighed Approximately 12,770 Pounds

dark chocolate bar

The Guinness World Record for the largest chocolate bar in the world was set by Thorntons PLC in the United Kingdom on September 07, 2011, and weighed 5792.50 kg (about 12,770 lbs).

4

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Was Invented by Accident

Ruth Graves Wakefield invented the cookie by accident during the 1930’s while preparing food for guests at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. She was trying to make a batch of Butter Drop Do cookies, but instead the chocolate chips in the batter stayed intact and the iconic cookie was born.

5

The Scientific Name for the Tree that Chocolate Comes From Means ‘Food of the Gods’

Even scientist Linnaeus was a big fan of chocolate. He named the cacao tree “Theobroma cacao,” which literally translates to “cacao, food of the Gods” in 1753, according to Cornell University.

6

It Takes About a Year for a Cocoa Tree to Produce Enough Beans to Make 10 Hershey Bars

There’s a lot of work that goes into making a Hershey’s chocolate bar. According to the book And Then God Made Chocolate! by Sherry-Marie Perguson, each cacao tree only produces enough beans to make 10 regular-sized Hershey’s bars a year.

7

Chocolate Has Over 600 Flavor Compounds

dark chocolate and cocoa powder

Chocolate contains over 600 flavor compounds, which give off its distinct aroma, according to the American Chemical Society. In comparison, red wine is reported to only have around 200 flavor compounds.

8

The Word ‘Chocolate’ Comes From the Aztec Word ‘Xocolatl’

According to Godiva, the word “chocolate” actually roots back to the Aztec word “xocolatl,” which means “bitter water.” The chocolate company states that due to lack of sugar in Central America during these times, chocolate had a very different taste to what we know today.

9

Soldiers During the Revolutionary War Were Sometimes Paid in Chocolate

During the Revolutionary War, some soldiers were fighting for freedom in exchange for chocolate. According to research done by the chocolate and candy company Mars, International, since chocolate didn’t spoil, it was used as a ration during the ar.

10

Chocolate Creates a Greater Mental High Than Kissing Does

According to the BBC, research found that chocolate can actually stimulate your brain and releases more endorphins in the brain than kissing does. It was also shown to increase your heart rate faster than kissing as well. Researchers believe that this is caused by chocolate’s concentration of phenylethylamine, a compound that increases endorphin production in the brain.

11

Hershey’s Makes 70 Million Kisses a Day

America’s favorite chocolate brand produces millions of those bite-sized chocolates we all love daily. They are all made by machine at Hershey’s factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

12

Hershey’s Kisses got their Name from the Sound the Machine Makes

If you always wondered where the name of these tiny chocolate treats came from, it has nothing to do with actual kissing. It actually got its name from the sound that the chocolate makes when coming out of a machine during the manufacturing process.

13

The Inventor of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sold the Recipe to Nestle in Exchange for a Lifetime Supply of Chocolate]

Ruth Wakefield, a.k.a. “the mother of chocolate chip cookies,” sold her now-famous recipe to Nestle, but she didn’t receive any money for it. Instead, all she wanted was a lifetime supply of chocolate, which is a deal I’m sure we’d all take.

14

Ben & Jerry’s Made the First Cookie Dough Ice Cream

According to Ben & Jerry’s website, the ice cream aficionados created the flavor after an anonymous suggestion was sent into their shop in 1984. They spent six years perfecting the ice cream before finally releasing it, and it became the massive hit it is today. Find out where chocolate chip cookie dough landed on our list of Every Ben & Jerry’s Flavor—Ranked By Nutrition!

15

There are Actually Four Different Types of Chocolate: Dark, Milk, White, and Blond

Most people think that there are only three main types of chocolate, but that’s not necessarily true. Blond chocolate, named after its striking color, was actually made by accident by pastry chef Frédéric Bau, according to the chocolate’s founding company, Valrhona.

16

White Chocolate Technically Isn’t Chocolate

White chocolate contains cocoa butter, but doesn’t contain any cocoa powder or cocoa solids that give regular milk and dark chocolate its color and flavor. Since cocoa butter doesn’t actually taste good on its own, it’s mixed with milk fat, vanilla, and sugar for a sweeter flavor.

17

The Film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was Financed by Quaker Oats to Promote its New Wonka Bar Candy

The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie from 1971 was actually used as an advertisement for Quaker Oats. The film was funded by the food company in order to promote their new Wonka chocolate bar, which is why the film is named Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory instead of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory like the original book.

18

The First Chocolate Bar was Invented in 1847 by Joseph Fry

According to the History Channel, the world’s first chocolate bar dates all the way back to 1847. It was created by Joseph Fry with the help of his son, and they made it with cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and sugar.

19

The Chocolate Industry is Worth Over $75 Billion Per Year Globally

The History Channel also noted that the chocolate industry bloomed into one of the most successful businesses in the world. Each year, the chocolate industry makes over $75 billion in sales around the world.

20

Three Musketeers Bars were Originally Three Pieces to a Package

Three Musketeers bars used to have three individually flavored bars: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. But, they decided to drop the strawberry one when prices began to rise for the fruit and eventually turned into one large chocolate bar.

21

Andes Candies were Originally Called ‘Andy’s Candys’

The creator of the now-famous chocolate, Andrew Kanelos, was going to name them after himself originally, but changed it for a funny reason: he realized that men did not like giving their wives and girlfriends boxes of candies with another man’s name on them, according to the book Chicago’s Sweet Candy History by Leslie Goddard.

22

The Most Valuable Chocolate Bar in the World Sold for $687

This Cadbury chocolate bar had a much pricier tag than usual, and for good reason. At the time of being sold in 2001, this bar of chocolate was 100 years old and went on Captain Robert Scott’s first Discovery expedition to the Antarctic, according to Guinness World Records.

23

Chocolate Milk was Invented in Jamaica in the Early 1700s

The Natural History Museum found that chocolate milk was invented in Jamaica by Irish botanist Sir Hans Sloane. The natives of the land gave him straight cocoa to drink, but could only stomach it when he mixed it with milk, according to the museum’s research.

24

Chocolate Milk is an Effective Post-Workout Recovery Drink

A study published by Medicine and Sports Science found that chocolate milk can actually help athletes recover faster after exercise. The study noted that this could be due to the drink’s high protein and carb ratio. It’s so beneficial after exercising that it’s actually one of the 16 Post-Workout Snacks Fitness Experts Swear By.

25

German Chocolate Cake has Nothing to do with Germany

German chocolate cake isn’t from Germany and has absolutely nothing to do with the country. According to Snopes, it was actually invented in the United States by a baker, Sam German, and was named after him.

26

The Average Milk Chocolate Bar has About 50 Milligrams of Caffeine

According to Coca-Cola’s Caffeine Calculator, the average chocolate bar actually has quite a bit of caffeine in it. It estimates that as much as 50 mg of caffeine is in one bar of chocolate, which is more than one shot of espresso.

You’re More Likely to Buy Something from a Store that Smells Like Chocolate

Science has proven that customers are more likely to buy something when the scent of chocolate is around. A study published by the Journal of Environmental Psychology studied the shopping habits of customers at a bookstore, and found that when the scent of chocolate was in the air people were more likely to buy something. The researchers assume that this is due to the scent’s soothing properties.

28

Most People Would Reveal Personal Information for a Chocolate Bar

Would you give up your personal information for a bar of chocolate? According to the BBC the survey conducted for the Infosecurity Europe trade show found that 79 percent of people were willing to give out personal information that could be useful for identity thieves, such as birthdays and mother’s maiden names, for chocolate.

29

Americans Buy More than 58 Million Pounds of Chocolate During Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days of the year for chocolatiers around the country. According to the History Channel, the U.S. Census Bureau noted that during the week of Valentine’s Day, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate are sold, and makes up a large percentage of yearly chocolate sold in the US.

30

The Brussels Airport is the Biggest Chocolate Seller in the World

The airport’s website reports that they are the biggest seller of chocolate around the globe. They sell about 800 tons of Belgian chocolate per year.

31

More than Two-Thirds of the World’s Cocoa is Grown in Africa

Most of the world’s cocoa beans come from Africa, according to research done by The World Cocoa Foundation. They report that 40 percent is produced in the Ivory Coast alone.

32

It Takes 500 Cocoa Beans to Make One Pound of Chocolate

According to Hershey’s, it takes hundreds of cocoa beans just to produce one pound of chocolate. To put that in perspective, that’s about 10 standard-sized Hershey’s chocolate bars, which are 1.5 ounces.

33

Benjamin Franklin Sold Chocolate in His Print Shop in Philadelphia

The History Channel also noted that one of America’s founding fathers used to sell chocolate in his Philadelphia print shop. Benjamin Franklin sold chocolate, along with stationery supplies and Bibles, in his shop in 1739.

34

It Takes About One Week to Make a Single-Serving Chocolate Bar

According to the artisan chocolatiers at Amano, the process of making chocolate from cocoa beans takes about a week. Larger companies like Hershey’s can make a chocolate bar in two to four days due to their larger chocolate-producing machines.

35

Cacao Percentage Determines the Amount of Actual Cocoa In A Chocolate Product

Darker chocolates contain a higher percentage of cacao, whereas ones with lower percentages contain more milk product and sweetener. The average milk chocolate bar can have as little as 10 percent of actual cocoa bean product, which is the minimum requirement for the FDA to consider a food a chocolate product.

36

The French Celebrate April Fool’s Day with Fish-Shaped Chocolate

April Fool’s Day in France is called “Poisson d’Avril.” The word “poisson” in French translates to fish, so children enjoy a piece of fish-shaped chocolate on this day while playing pranks on one another.

37

$1.4 Billion Worth of Cocoa Products Are Consumed Each Year in the U.S.

The United States is one of the biggest consumers of chocolate. According to research done by the World Cocoa Foundation, the U.S. alone eats $14 billion worth of cocoa products every year.

38

Snickers is Actually Named After a Horse

The Mars family, which founded the famous Mars candy company, named the popular candy bar after their beloved horse, Snickers, in 1930.

39

Nestlé was Founded in 1866

Nestlé, one of the biggest food companies in the world, was founded in the late 1800s by Henri Nestlé in Vevey, Switzerland. It did not start as a chocolate company, but actually as an instant milk product, according to the company’s website.

40

A Real Chocolatier Taught Lucile Ball How to Hand-Dip Chocolate for Her Iconic I Love Lucy Episode

For one of the most popular episodes of the series, titled “Job Switching,” which is when Lucy works in a chocolate factory and things start running amuck on the conveyer belt, Lucille Ball heavily prepared for the episode before filming. She recruited professional chocolate dipper, Amanda Milligan, to play the chocolatier beside her in the episode and taught her how to actually dip chocolate before filming came.

41

M&M’s Have Been Taken to Space Over 130 Times

According to Smithsonian.com, M&M’s are a common treat for astronauts to pack during their space endeavors. This is mainly because they are small, edible, but also fun for the astronauts to use as entertainment in zero gravity, according to the Smithsonian’s reports.

42

Cadbury Makes 1.5 Million Creme Eggs a Day

Cadbury Creme Eggs are one of the most popular chocolate candies in the world. According to the Cadbury website, the chocolate company produces up to 1.5 million of their famous creme eggs daily, and over 500 million made per year.

43

Dark Chocolate Contains Heart-Healthy Antioxidants

Dark chocolate is actually beneficial for your heart health. A study conducted by Walden University’s School of Nursing shows that blood pressure significantly decreased in participants, mainly due to the chocolate’s heavy concentration of flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants.

44

Eating Chocolate Every Day Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

Doctor holding heart

Harvard University also noted that chocolate can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. The university stated that middle-aged and older adults that ate 3.5 ounces of chocolate daily were less likely to suffer from heart disease in comparison to those who had less.

45

The Smell of Chocolate Triggers Relaxation

Chocolate is known to have extremely soothing properties. A study by Essex University found that people were more relaxed and actually paid attention and retained more information when just the smell of chocolate was around.

46

Milton Hershey Got His Start Making Caramels, Not Chocolate

The famous chocolate maven didn’t actually start making chocolate with his famous Hershey company. Milton Hershey actually started making caramels under the Lancaster Caramel Company in 1886, and began to sell chocolate in 1900.

47

The First Cadbury Easter Egg was Made in 1875

The Cadbury Easter Egg is over 140 years old, according to the Cadbury website. The first egg was made with dark chocolate and was filled with sugar-coated chocolate drops.

48

Swiss People Eat the Most Chocolate Per Year

Although the United States eats billions worth of chocolate a year, it’s nothing compared to the amount of chocolate people in Switzerland. According to research done by Forbes and Euromonitor, Swiss people eat on average 19.8 pounds of chocolate each year, reigning supreme as the biggest chocolate consuming country in the world.

49

Milky Way Bars Aren’t Named After the Milky Way

The name of the MIlky Way bar was always perplexing since it looks absolutely nothing like the milky way galaxy. But, it turns out the famous chocolate bar is actually named after the popular milky way malt milkshake, according to the official Milky Way Facebook page, and tried to mimic the flavor of the sweet drink.

50

Chocolate Can Be Part of a Balanced Diet and Lifestyle

When eaten in moderation, chocolate can be heart-healthy through its heavy concentration of antioxidants. Try these 20 Secretly Healthy Chocolate Recipes to keep your heart happy without all of the excess sugar and fat found in many store-bought chocolate products.