Valentine's Day isn't the only celebration of love in February..
National Chocolate Lover’s Month is just one of many different recognized “celebrations” that honor chocolate and all the amazing things it brings to the world.
Think of it like the Valentine’s Day equivalent for people who love chocolate just as much as their significant other.
Problem is, there are tons of different celebrations focused on chocolate—from National Chocolate Cake Day in January to World Chocolate Day in July, keeping count of these chocolate observances can become difficult quickly.
But there is one thing that is consistent throughout all of these holidays—the chocolate.
It’s the stuff that we’re all obsessed with, the glue that holds together the candy community. Without it, the world of sweet treats would be lost.
While we’ve spent our fair time telling stories about chocolate we still felt like there were a few things we didn’t know about it. So just like any good candy lover, we dove deep into the archives of chocolate to find 10 facts you never knew about candy’s most iconic flavor.
To our surprise, there’s a lot we never knew about chocolate and we’d like to share it with you.
Here are 10 things you never knew about chocolate…
1. Chocolate means “food of the gods”.
There’s an ancient Toltec myth that claims a spirit (Quetzalcoatl—the feathered serpent god) planted a bunch of cocoa trees in southern Mexico, where the plant was founded. From there, it was used in rituals and celebrations dating all the way back to the early centuries.
Who would have thought years later a botanist, Carl Linneaus, would first taste the delicious flavors of cocoa and reinforce this godly image around chocolate labeling it, “Theobroma Cacao”, Latin for “food of the gods.”
Doesn’t that feel like such a fitting name?
2. Chocolate was used as currency.
Just like many ancient cultures, food was often used as currency. In ancient Mayan culture, cocoa beans were highly valued and toted as a means to gain more godly wisdom. Since they could not grow it themselves, they relied on the Aztecs to grow it and would often trade it for other goods and services.
3. There are 4 different types of chocolate.
Unless you are in the candy game like us, you might just be familiar with the three traditional types of chocolate—dark, milk, and white. But people forget there is a fourth included in this sweet family and that’s Blond.
Recently discovered in 2006 by chocolaterie Valhrona, Blond chocolate is made through a process of slow-roasting white chocolate and adding sugar and milk solids to create a deeper brown color that has a more full flavor. It’s been the talk of the candy world for the last decade as it’s recently been added to regular everyday foods like Starbucks coffee.
4. It takes a cocoa tree one year of growth to yield enough cocoa for 10 Hershey’s Bars.
In case you thought it would be easy to import a cocoa plant and start growing chocolate in your backyard, think again.
According to Sherry Marie Perguson, author of the book And Then God Made Chocolate, most cocoa trees yield roughly 10 Hershey’s candy bars over the course of a year. Sure that might sound like a lot, but remember, you still need to ask Hershey for his recipe if you want to make it happen.
5. You can poison yourself with too much chocolate.
That’s right, eating too much delectable and delicious chocolate could lead to your demise.
Chocolate consists of theobromine, an alkaloid that stimulates the heart. When consumed in massive amounts, it can cause poisoning—though doctors have noted that one would most likely experience pain from overconsumption before reaching levels high enough to be fatal.
6. Chocolate’s melting point is below that of the human body.
Do you remember M&M’s saying, “melt in your mouth, not in your hand”? They were spot on when they said this!
Chocolate’s melting point is roughly between 86-90 degrees. Because of this, it tends to melt after a few seconds of you letting it rest in your palms.
Depending on the ingredients and type of chocolate, the rate at which it melts may vary, but it’s safe to say if you want to keep your chocolate from turning into a melted mess, eat it quickly!
7. The inventor of the chocolate chip cookie sold the recipe to Nestle for a lifetime supply of chocolate.
Imagine having an unlimited supply of chocolate for your entire life?
This was the story of Ruth Graves Wakefield. A nutritionist, baker, and chef, Ruth was inspired to drop a few pieces of Nestle chocolate into her cookie batter, resulting in the first-ever chocolate chip cookie. After tasting the revolutionary invention, she immediately started slinging her cookie recipe around the country.
After seeing a massive spike in sales, Nestle bought the recipe from Ruth for $1 and a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate!
Sounds like a pretty good deal, wouldn’t you say?
8. Europe accounts for more than half of the world’s chocolate consumption.
It should be no surprise that Europe tops the charts when it comes to consuming chocolate.
Between the delicious desserts in each country, along with an affinity for sweet treats in general, Europe topples the rest of the world in chocolate purchases. More specifically, Switzerland and Germany account for the top 2 countries amongst Europe that are getting their hands on cocoa.
9. $1.4 billion worth of cocoa-based products is consumed in the U.S. each year.
We all know that chocolate is everywhere, but we were even shocked to see that it’s a $1.4 billion dollar industry!
Just to get an idea of how it works, check out these numbers…
- 8 million pounds of sugar is used each day to make chocolate.
- 1.8 million pounds of milk is used each day to make chocolate.
- 1.7 billion pounds of corn syrup sweeteners are used annually to make chocolate.
Now that’s a lot of money just to spend making chocolate!
10. Chocolate can help improve your heart health.
You’ve probably heard about it, but just in case you forgot, eating chocolate can actually benefit your heart health.
Studies have shown that dark chocolate has antioxidants that promote lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of blood clots. Similarly, it can reduce the risk for factors of heart disease when consumed in small servings on a regular basis.
Who knew that staying healthy and eating sweets could go hand-in-hand?
We’re going cocoa for chocolate this month!
In the time it took you to read these chocolatey facts, we went ahead and pulled together all of our favorite chocolate candy into one aisle that you can walk down for yourself.
From classic chocolate candy bars to new chocolate treats, we pride ourselves on delivering the most delicious sweets you can get your paws on. So, celebrate National Chocolate Lover’s Month with us and grab your favorite candy right here.