What Is It?
It takes 400 cocoa beans to make one pound of chocolate.
Each cacao tree produces approximately 2,500 beans.
Research to date supports that chocolate can be enjoyed as part of a balanced, heart-healthy diet and lifestyle.
The average serving of milk chocolate has about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of decaf coffee.
Because cacao trees are so delicate, farmers lose, on average, 30 percent of their crop each year.
Studies have demonstrated that one of the major saturated fats in chocolate does not raise cholesterol like other hard fats–meaning chocolate can be enjoyed in moderation.
Chocolate comes from a fruit tree; it’s made from a seed.
Theobroma Cacao is the tree that produces cocoa beans, and it means “food of the gods.” Carolus Linnaeus, the father of plant taxonomy, named it.
Where Is It From?
There are an estimated 1.5 million cocoa farms in West Africa.
Most cocoa–70 percent–hails from West Africa.
Cocoa is raised by hand, on small, family-owned farms.
Cacao leaves can move 90 degrees, from horizontal to vertical, to get sun and to protect younger leaves.
Some cacao trees are more than 200 years old, but most give marketable cocoa beans for only the first 25 years.
The average size of a cocoa farm in West Africa is 7 to 10 acres.
Rudolph Lindt designed the first conching machine, its bed curved like a conch shell.
Cote d’Ivoire is the single largest producer of cocoa, providing roughly 40 percent of the world’s supply.
Through some programs supported by industry and partners including foundations and governments, farmers are now earning between 70 percent and 75 percent more from their crops.
Most cocoa farms are not owned by the companies that make chocolate.
Who Depends On It?
Benjamin Franklin sold chocolate in his print shop in Philadelphia.
The price of cocoa can fluctuate daily–affecting farmers’ incomes.
Cacao beans were so valuable to early Mesoamericans that they were used as currency.
The average West African cocoa family has eight members.
An Indonesian cocoa farming community built a giant statue of hands holding a cocoa pod.
In addition to tending cacao trees, family members may harvest bananas or other fruit crops.
The ancients also fermented the pulp of the cacao pod to make other beverages.
In November, Germans celebrate St. Martin–a knight who shared his cloak with a beggar–with a lantern-lit parade, sweets and steaming hot chocolate.
Worldwide, 40 million to 50 million people depend upon cocoa for their livelihood.
Spanish royalty gave cakes of cacao in their dowries.
The Aztec emperor Montezuma drank 50 cups of cacao a day from a golden chalice.
It takes two to four days to make a single-serving chocolate bar.
Chocolate contains two doses of cocoa butter—the natural amount from the bean, plus an extra dollop to bump up creaminess.
Cacao percentage determines the amount of cocoa bean products by weight in a chocolate.
“Cacao” is how you say “cocoa” in Spanish.
Champagne and sparkling wines are too acidic to pair well with milk or dark chocolate. Try pairing a sweet bubbly with white chocolate and red wine with dark. In general you want to match the sweetness level of the wine with the sweetness level of the chocolate.
Some cocoa certification programs are modeled on success with a similar product–coffee.
Chocolate can make dogs and cats ill–meaning no tastings for your furry friend, and more for you.
A farmer must wait four to five years for a cacao tree to produce its first beans.
German chocolate cake was named for Sam German, who developed a sweet bar for Baker’s Chocolate–and was not from Germany.
The French celebrate April Fool’s Day with chocolate-shaped fish, or “Poisson d’Avril.”