It’s been chocolate week and we’ve been perusing all things choc. Most people love chocolate and we all know how it helps our happy-hormones. We know we shouldn’t over indulge. For the sake of our waistbands and cholesterol levels. And yet, we’re always being told how it’s Good For You. What is a person to do?
The magical substance of cocoa has the world in it’s power. And it has done for a very very long time. But just how much do you know about it? Expecially for Chocolate Week, we present our top ten chocolate facts.
- Chocolate is made from a cocoa fruit which is about the size of a small melon and grows on trees.
- Each fruit contains about 40 seeds – enough to make 8 bars of milk or 4 bars of dark chocolate.
- Cocoa trees grow in tropical parts of the world. It is mostly produced in West Africa and South America. Cote d’Ivoire grows 35% of the world’s supply of cocoa.
- The Mayans of central America were the first people to grow cocoa trees and drink chocolate. 250 – 900 AD.
- The word chocolate comes from the Aztec word xocoatl. The Aztecs were unable to grow cocoa trees though, because their climate wasn’t right. They had to trade it from the Mayans.
- The Latin – or scientific – name for the cocoa tree is Theobroma Cacao, meaning food of the gods. Which is about right.
- 90% of cocoa trees are grown on small family farms. About 6 million farmers earn their living from grown and selling cocoa beans.
- Cocoa is a difficult crop. Trees need to be constantly tended and protected. Cocoa farmers earn very little from this very lucrative industry.
- Fair trade chocolate is made from cocoa grown on family farms, the same as all cocoa. But the farmers are paid a premium amount rather than the minimum. That means they can invest in the farms and have security for their families and communities.
- Milky Ways are named after a flavour of milkshake, which has (milk)shaken my entire chocolate belief system as I always thought it was astronomical, just like a Mars Bar. Which makes question how Mars Bars got their name. See, world shaken.
Oh and earlier in the week we promised you a choc recipe. We had to do some serious testing. It has been really hard work. We have come to the conclusion that this is the best brownie recipe ever. Didn’t seem fair to claim it as our own, so click on the image for the BBC Good Food recipe. The instructions look a bit long winded, but it’s honestly as easy as anything. They get better if you store them for a few days. Which is the hardest bit of the recipe.