Chocolate is a food that is made from cacao beans and is often used for sweet products such as candy bars, cakes, and cookies. The cacao bean can also be used to liven up savory dishes such as those containing mole sauce. Here are five facts about chocolate.
- There Are Three Types of Cacao
The three major types of cacao are criollo, forastero, and trinitario. These are all varieties of the Theobroma species of cacao. Criollo cacao comes from Central America and was originally grown by the Mayas many, many years ago. Forastero cacao, which provides a fuller-bodied flavor, is thought to have originated in the Amazon region and today grows in several countries including Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Guyana. Trinitario cacao, an especially fragrant variety, is grown in a diverse set of regions that includes Trinidad, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka.
- It Takes Many Beans To Make Chocolate
It takes around 400 cacao beans just to make one pound of chocolate. A typical pod of cacao has around 40 beans, so this means it takes 10 cacao pods just to produce one pound of this popular food. Think about how many beans it took to produce all that chocolate the next time you peer into a chocolate display box.
- Trees Take Time To Harvest
Cacao trees take approximately three to five years to produce mature cacao seeds so that farmers can harvest them. The trees are best grown in warm, humid climates such as those close to the equator in West Africa, South American, and Southeast Asia, but they can be grown in greenhouses if your climate is not suitable for growing cacao. Cacao trees can continue to produce seeds for up to 60 years, making this crop a lifelong commitment.
- The Chocolate Bar Is Old
The first chocolate bar that resembles what is sold in stores today was developed by Joseph Fry in Great Britain in 1847. Besides this invention, there are now a huge variety of chocolate treats to choose from, coming in flavors that include mint chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, and sea salt chocolate.
- White Chocolate Is Not Chocolate
Despite the name, white chocolate is not actually chocolate because cacao bits are not used to produce this food. Only cacao butter is used, which is a fat that comes from the cacao bean.
Consider these fives facts the next time you bite into this popular sweet treat.