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World Chocolate Day 2023: Random Fun Facts About Chocolate!


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World Chocolate Day is Friday, July 7th, 2023 and we couldn’t think of a better reason to be filled with splendor and joy! As if an entire day dedicated to chocolate wasn’t exciting enough, we thought we’d celebrate by sharing some lesser-known, fun facts about chocolate that you might not be aware of! From some strange and imaginative candy bars, to some of the health benefits of dark chocolate here are some of the crazy things you probably should know about the world’s favorite sweet.

Although humans have used chocolate for thousands of years, World Chocolate Day is intended to commemorate the introduction of chocolate to European society, all the way back in 1550. Yet, some researchers believe that Christopher Columbus may have brought cacao beans with him back to Spain after his fourth, and final trip to Central America in 1504.

Either way, Europeans were relatively late to the chocolate game as the ancient Olmec civilization was cultivating and consuming chocolate as far back as 4,000 years ago. And new research conducted in 2018 by the University of British Columbia has pointed to an even older origin. Examining relics of South America’s Mayo-Chinchipe culture in Ecuador, archaeologists found starch grains specific to the cacao tree in pottery dating as far back as 5,300 years ago.

Beyond its rich history and cultural significance, chocolate holds a treasure trove of more absolutely fascinating facts. So, let's delve into some of the lesser-known tidbits about this delectable treat. Prepare yourself to be surprised by these intriguing insights into the world of chocolate.

The name chocolate comes from 2 different ancient civilizations.

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The word chocolate is derived from the Spanish word ‘xocoatl’ which was a combination of the Mayan word ‘chocol’ (meaning hot) and the Aztec word, ‘atl’ (meaning liquid). In these cultures, chocolate was consumed as a hot, bitter drink that gave people energy, and was also used as an aphrodisiac. This led people in these societies to believe that cacao was a gift from the god Quetzalcoatl. The binomial nomenclature for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao comes from ancient Greek and quite literally translates into “food of the gods”.

Ancient civilizations used chocolate as a form of currency.

In ancient civilizations, such as the Mayans and Aztecs, cacao beans were considered valuable and were used as a form of currency. In Aztec civilization, cacao beans were considered to be worth more than gold. They would use them to pay taxes and buy goods such as food and clothing. 100 cocoa beans would get you a turkey, and 3 beans would get you a fresh avocado. Because this form of currency could literally be grown on trees, cultivation was limited to protect their value.

Chocolate and cacao are not the same.

Despite being used interchangeably, chocolate and cacao are not the same. Cacao refers to the plant and its beans, while chocolate is the processed product that is made from cacao beans. Cocoa is made after the beans are roasted and then ground into a powder. This raw cocoa can be mixed with milk or water to drink, or blended with condensed milk, sugar, and cocoa butter to make solid chocolate.

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Dark chocolate has a lot of health benefits.

Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (70% or more) is rich in antioxidants, particularly flavonoids. These antioxidants can help protect the body against free radicals and can reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Several studies have suggested that moderate consumption of dark chocolate can have a positive impact on your heart’s health. The flavonoids found in dark chocolate may help lower your blood pressure, improve blood flow, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Chocolate can help elevate your mood.

Chocolate contains over 800 different chemical compounds, and some of them can stimulate the production of endorphins, serotonin, and phenylethylamine in the brain. This can enhance mood and create an enormous sense of well-being, leaving you feeling happy for the rest of the day. All chocolate contains a little caffeine, which can help you feel energized and alert, making chocolate the perfect treat for an afternoon pick-me-up!

The world’s most expensive chocolates could cost you over $1 million dollars!

While you’ll be getting a lot more than just chocolate, the top spot belongs to Lake Forest Confections’ Le Chocolate Box. These fine chocolates come with fine jewelry from Simmons Jewelers and the box sells for over 1 million dollars. This makes it officially the most expensive chocolate box ever sold.

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If you’re not looking for 24-carat gold and diamonds to go with your chocolates, To'ak Chocolate bars sell for around $200 per bar. Crafted in Ecuador, To'ak Chocolate focuses on single-origin dark chocolate made from the rarest and finest cacao beans, often sourced from specific farms or regions in Ecuador. The chocolate is aged in barrels, similar to the aging process of fine wine or whiskey, which enhances its flavors and complexity.

Each bar comes in an exquisite, hand-crafted wooden box. Due to their exclusivity and exceptional craftsmanship, To'ak Chocolate only sells a limited number of products each year, which regularly sell out almost instantaneously.

The world’s largest chocolate bar weighed over 12 thousand pounds!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest chocolate bar weighed 12,770 pounds and was made by British chocolate manufacturer, Thorntons on October 7th, 2011. This was a monumental task, taking more than 50 workers over 10 hours to pour the chocolate into the mold. Then it took 3 whole days to cool off! The bar was created to celebrate the chocolatier’s 100th birthday.

The Swiss consume the most chocolate per capita.

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According to recent statistics, Switzerland consumes the most chocolate, at a whopping 22 pounds per person, per year! Amazingly, in the United States, the average person consumes only 9.9 pounds of chocolate every year. America, we’ve got some work to do!

Despite barely making it into the top 10 countries that consume the most chocolate, America is home to 3 of the top 5 chocolate manufacturers in the world: Hershey’s (5th), Mondelez (3rd), and Mars Chocolate (1st).

The chocolate river in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was made of real chocolate.

Inside Wonka’s chocolate factory, the chocolate river was created out of 150,000 gallons of water, real chocolate, and cream. When the cream quickly spoiled it left an intensely unpleasant odor that many of the cast and crew for the film called: “dirty, stinky water”.

Milton S Hershey quit school at age 13.

The man who brought chocolate to the masses actually quit going to school at the young age of 13. His parents had moved around a lot when he was a child, so his education wasn’t that great to begin with. After dropping out, Hershey began an apprenticeship with a master confectioner in 1872, at age 15. By 1894, Hershey had opened his first chocolate factory in Derry Township, Pennsylvania, and the rest is history.

Another interesting tidbit of information about Milton S Hershey was that he was supposed to be on the doomed maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. No one knows for certain why he didn’t make it onto the ship, but many have speculated that his wife, Kitty was sick, or that he had to attend to a business emergency that prevented him from boarding the vessel.

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We hope you have enjoyed all of these random fun facts about chocolate. At Redstone Foods, we have a massive selection of chocolate products that will delight your customers. Whether it's classic milk, rich dark, creamy white, or innovative ruby chocolate, we offer an array of delectable options for chocolate enthusiasts looking to indulge their sweet cravings. We even have a selection of chocolate-flavored sodas!

Sign up for an account with us online, or give us a call today. You’ll quickly see why Redstone Foods is America’s favorite candy distributor!