It is no secret that Americans love chocolate. It has been estimated that we consume about 2.8 billion pounds of the sweet treat every year. That is about 11 pounds per person! Whether you buy chocolate candy online or get it at a local candy store, the chances are good that you get it somewhere. Here are some fun bits of information about this popular candy.
- People celebrate chocolate all over the world. There are are a number of days dedicated to the candy. There is Chocolate Day (July 7), Milk Chocolate Day (July 28), International Chocolate Day (September 13), and National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day (November 7). Chocolate Day, which is the oldest and was started in the 1500s, celebrates the day the first chocolate arrived in Europe. While none of that was chocolate candy online, it does show how much it was enjoyed all the way back then.
- Chocolate comes from beans. It can also be called a vegetable, though will never count at dinner as one. The cacao bean is produced by the cacao tree, also known as Theobroma cacao. The Malvaceae family tree includes cacao trees but also okra. Therefore it does have veggie status.
- Cacao beans come from Central and South America. This is why Christopher Columbus was able to bring it back to Europe when he was on his travels around the globe. Historians put the first cultivation of the bean at sometime before 1250 BC.
- Before people ate it, they drank it. In the Aztec and Mexican cultures, chocolate was enjoyed as a liquid, not a solid. They used it in their cooking and also served bitter hot chocolate at celebratory events such as weddings.
- One real fan of chocolate was Marie Antoinette. While she is more famous for her feelings about cake, hot chocolate was a common drink served at her palace at Versailles. People there loved more than just the taste, they also went for it because it was said to be an aphrodisiac.
- The Aztecs used cacao as money. When they were at their peak, it was cacao that was traded as currency.
- Britain developed the first chocolate that was solid. Hot chocolate may have gotten its start in the Americas but it took the British to make a sold chocolate candy. The Fry and Sons Candy Shop is credited with making this by mixing cocoa with sugar, chocolate liquor, and butter to form a solid in 1847. They referred to their new product as “eating chocolate.”
- Napolean Bonaparte was another chocolate lover. He made sure he had it on all of his travels, including those into battle. He never left home without wine and chocolate.
- You can do more with Baker’s chocolate than just bake. The name “Baker’s” chocolate does not refer to what it should be used for. It is named after the chocolate company founded by Dr. James Backer and John Hannon. They called their chocolate, “Walter Baker Chocolate.”
- Milton Hersey did not start with chocolate. Before Hersey’s chocolate became a worldwide phenomenon, the confectioner worked on other kinds of candy. He started with caramel and his Lancaster Caramel Company was his first foray into this area. He stated that when he was about 30 years old.
- The Swiss developed milk chocolate. In 1875, Daniel Peter took condensed milk and added it to chocolate. He worked for eight years until he was happy with his recipe.
- It takes a lot of work to make chocolate. Sure, today, you can just order chocolate candy online but it takes a lot of effort to create it. To make one pound of chocolate, you need at least 400 beans and a lot of hard work.
- Cadbury, not Hersey, put out the first chocolate bar. Back in England, the Cadbury company started making and selling chocolate bars in the 1800s. Now best known for their Cadbury Eggs at Easter, they are still in the candy business.
- Most cacao beans are now grown in Africa. Although it started in the Americas, at least 70% of it is now grown in Africa. Nearly 30% of the world’s supply comes from the Ivory Coast.
Today, it is easy to get chocolate candy online but that was not always the case. From its
humble beginnings, it has taken over the world and we love it.