We all love chocolates, in all kinds and flavours. They’re there to comfort you when you’re sad, to satisfy your sweet tooth, to show the one you love how much you miss them and to give you a pat on the back when you truly deserve it. No matter how much we love chocolate, we still take it for granted, MSN News reports. We uncover it and start eating it so fast that we don’t sit and indulge the magical taste.
1. White chocolate isn’t really chocolate. Being made of butter and milk, it does not contain any chocolate liquor and so Under Federal Standards of Identity, “white chocolate” is just a misnomer.
2. The reason why chocolate literally melts in your mouth, is because the melting point of cocoa butter is just below the human body temperature.
3. Hawaii is the only US state that grows cacao beans to produce chocolate. Whereas American chocolate manufacturers use on average 1.5 billion pounds of milk, which is only exceeded by cheese and icecream.
4. Chocolate scientifically makes you happy. It contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a natural substance that is known to stimulate serotonin release (the happy hormone) acting as a natural anti-depressant.
5. Chocolate contains Theobromine, which suppresses coughing activity.
6. On average, a chocolate bar in the US contains eight insect pieces. “The Food Defect Action Levels”, a book published by the US Department of Health, lists unavoidable food defects allowed by FDA – like bug parts. That means that your chocolate may contain traces of nuts, and bugs.
Summary: Cocoa was originally cultivated by ancient societies in Central and South America, where it was consumed as a fermented beverage for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Cocoa and chocolate, its fermented byproduct, are rich in flavanols—potent antioxidants associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Two types of flavanols, called catechins and procyanidins, have been shown in experimental studies to reduce markers of inflammation and angiogenesis, two processes closely linked to cancer development. While more study is required, cocoa and chocolate have significant potential for chemoprevention as a dietary supplement.
Cocoa, the seed of the cocoa tree, is believed to have been cultivated over 3,000 years ago by native inhabitants of Central and Northern South America. These inhabitants prepared cocoa as a fermented beverage, similar to tea, which was used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes, and the beans themselves were used as a form of currency. Spanish explorers brought cocoa back to Spain in the early 1500s, and from there it spread to France, Italy, and eventually to Great Britain. In the middle of the 18th Century, chocolate manufacturing was introduced to Massachusetts using cocoa imported from the West Indies and Central America. Commercial chocolate become available in the mid-19th Century when a London company added sugar to chocolate liquor and cocoa butter.
Chocolate, the fermented byproduct from processed cocoa, contains high levels of bioactive flavanoids (polyphenols) that are formed during the fermentation process. Two flavanoids in particular, catechins and procyanidins, are highly concentrated in dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Observational studies indicate that catechins and procyanidins derived from green tea, red wine and soy may protect against a number of chronic diseases, notably cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Derek Lanter clearly remembers his first date with the “dark side.” In 2001 he was living in Berkeley, Calif., when Scharffen Berger, the company that reputedly makes America’s finest dark chocolate, was setting up its operation there. He and a friend decided to visit Scharffen Berger’s factory for a tour and tasting.
“Having worked with coffee as a buyer and roaster for Uncommon Grounds Coffee Co., I had experience processing coffee beans and evaluating the brew made from them, but that was the first time I saw cacao beans being roasted, ground and manufactured into chocolate,” Lanter recalled.
“Scharffen Berger was using beans from Colombia, Madagascar, Ecuador, Ghana and Indonesia. We learned about the equipment and process, and tasted chocolate at different stages and in different forms, from the roasted nib to pure cacao liquor; sweet milk chocolate; and semisweet, 62 percent; bittersweet, 70 percent; and extra-dark, 85 percent chocolate. It was such a mind-opening experience!”
Today, Lanter tastes chocolate nearly every day as the sales and marketing manager for Waialua Estate, a subsidiary of Dole Food Co. that grows 20 acres of cacao and 155 acres of coffee on Oahu’s North Shore. According to Lanter, chocolate made from locally grown cacao is being favorably compared with world-renowned brands such as Amano, Amedei, Guittard and Michel Cluizel.