Chocolate Facts

Chocolate Facts

Published by Chocolatier Jason Vishnefske on 3rd Sep 2022


Interesting Facts About Chocolate

●Cacao beans originate from Mesoamerica and were introduced in Europe by Spaniards in the 16th century.

●Currently, 72% of the world’s cocoa supply is produced in West Africa.

●Côte d'Ivoire is the world's largest producer of cacao, with an estimated 2.12 million metric tons for this year's harvest, which makes 33% of the world cacao production.

●The other major cacao producers that follow Côte d'Ivoire are Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Togo.

●The chocolate industry collects an estimated $103 billion in sales annually.

Cacao vs Cocoa

Cacao Powder and Cocoa Powder are the same things, and differentiating them is not correct. The FDA regulates this terminology closely. But the terms singularly Cacao and Cocoa can have different meanings.

Cacao means cocoa beans. These are the seeds inside the fruit from the Theobroma cacao tree that are used to make chocolate.

Cocoa means pulverized cacao (i.e. cacao powder).

Colloquially cacao and cocoa are interchangeable words.

Cacao powder without any added ingredients is naturally gluten-free.

Packaged cocoa powder mixes often contain added sugar, soy, and dairy.

November 29 is a National Chocolate Day

Top 5 Chocolate Consumers:

1. Switzerland (19.4 pounds per capita)

2. Germany (17.8 pounds per capita)

3. Ireland (17.4 pounds per capita)

4. United Kingdom (16.8 pounds per capita)

5. Sweden (14.6 pounds per capita)

Types of Chocolate

Milk chocolate - sweetened chocolate that also contains dairy milk powder or dairy condensed milk. In different countries, the minimal percentage of solids varies from 10% to 25%.

White chocolate - does not contain any cocoa fiber, only cocoa butter, dairy milk solids, and nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners.

Dark chocolate - contains a minimum of 15% of chocolate liquor by weight and it is more bitter than milk chocolate.

Unsweetened chocolate - consists of pure chocolate liquor (ground cacao) and has no added sugar, it is always dark and contains a minimum of 100% cacao solids.

Ruby Cacao (called Ruby Chocolate in the press) - Considered a new type of chocolate in most countries, it was introduced in 2017. Ruby is made from cocoa beans that are handled in a special way to enhance their Ruby characteristics.

More General Facts:

Approximately 400 cocoa beans are needed to make one pound of chocolate, and every year an average cacao tree produces enough fruit to make 1 to 3 pounds of chocolate.

Buying Fair Trade certified and marked products ensures that you’re consuming chocolate free of child labor and that employees on the chocolate farms are treated fairly and got decent payment for their work.

Small chocolate manufacturers opt for Fairtrade labeled cacao products, producing premium chocolate, and premium cocoa price adds less than 10% to the cost of a typical chocolate bar.

In recent years premium chocolate sales are steadily growing compared to the sales of chocolate mass production brands.

The majority of chocolate is sold and consumed on Halloween, Easter, and Valentine's Day.

●In 2019, about $2.6 billion were spent on candy during Halloween.

●About 17% of the Christmas holiday budget in the US is spent on candies.

●For the last five years, 50-55% of the St. Valentine’s day budget was spent on chocolate candies.

●As many as 91 million chocolate bunnies are sold in the US for Easter annually.

●During the Easter time, people in the US spent over $2.5 billion on chocolate alone

The Compounds Within Chocolate:

●Theobromine -1,5% of the cocoa powder composition

●Caffeine - 27 mg per 100 g of the cocoa powder composition

●Fats (oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid) - 55% of the cocoa powder

●Flavonoids (catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidins). Antioxidants that help to avoid cardiovascular diseases.

●Phenylethylamine - it is a ‘love drug’, and it gives pleasurable effects by releasing b-endorphin

●Anandamide - is responsible for the transient feeling of well-being.

●Serotonin - makes you feel good.

●Histamine - is a trigger for the craving of chocolate and mood changes.

●Theophylline - stimulates central nervous and cardiovascular systems.

●Vitamin riboflavin (B 2)

●Mg, K, Ca, Fe

A Brief History of Chocolate

1900 BCE Mesoamericans ground cacao beans, mixed it with cornmeal, chili pepper, and consumed it as a form of a drink.

1519 - the introduction of cacao to the Europeans by Ernan Cortes. Initially, it was considered an aphrodisiac.

1828 - the introduction of the cocoa press by Coenraad Johannes van Houten (Amsterdam) that separated cocoa butter and powder, enabling the manufacturing of chocolate in the form we know it today.

1875 - Daniel Peter (Swiss) - added powdered milk creating a milk chocolate

The 1900s - chocolate is no longer a luxury product, but a treat available to everyone

Famous Chocolate Festivals

●Chocolate Show – New York, USA - November

●Chocol-Late Festival – Brugge, Belgium - November

●Eurochocolate – Umbria, Italy - October

●Chocolate Fest – New Brunswick, Canada - August

●Chocolate Rush Festival – Melbourne, Australia - August


Top Facts that you Didn’t Know About the Humble Chocolate Bar

Stop the press! Did you know that rather than making you feel guilty, the occasional chocolate bar could make you more intelligent? At the same time, did you know that as well as once regarded as the literal food of the Gods, milk chocolate has been used in everything from high profile bank robberies to state-sponsored assassination attempts?

So here are the 5 Top Facts About Chocolate:

1) Why Milk Chocolate is one of the most Interesting Foods in the World

We all love indulging at our local chocolate shop every once in a while. However, at Santa Barbara Chocolate, we know that there is much more to the humble chocolate bar than just moorish flavor and mouthwatering chocolatey goodness. This being the case, we’ve compiled a list of interesting facts about chocolate which are guaranteed to take your appreciation of your next chocolate bar to a whole new level.

2) Science Proves that Milk Chocolate makes People Happy

Bad break up? Hard day at work? If so, don’t think that reaching for a milk chocolate treat (or two) is purely about comfort eating. Science has proved, after all, that tryptophan in chocolate can and does lead to elevated levels of endorphins and serotonin in the brain which have a direct influence on how happy we feel at any given moment.

3) Milk Chocolate has been Used in State Sponsored Assassination Attempts

Thanks to the FDA (and the USDA organic chocolate provided by the likes of us at Santa Barbara Chocolate), you can be assured that a chocolate bar is very safe to eat. During WWII, however, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was almost killed by a chocolate bar, after Nazi plotters attempted to rig a bar to explode after learning of the British PM’s fondness for milk chocolate and other confectionary items.

4) Milk Chocolate has been used (Successfully) in Bank Robberies

Do you find it hard to resist the offer of free milk chocolate treats offered by friends and new acquaintances? If so, imagine how bad you would feel if accepting such a treat while at work lead to your employer losing an eye-watering $27 million!

Strange as it sounds, the above actually happened in 2007, when jewel thieves in Antwerp managed to steal $27 million in precious jewels, after distracting security guards with offers of free chocolate.

5) Chocolate can make People more Intelligent

If you love snacking on the occasional chocolate bar, you probably love hearing news regarding different chocolate health benefits. Did you know, however, that there is a very real correlation between the countries in the world which consume the most chocolate and those which also produce the most Nobel Laureates?

Start your own Milk Chocolate Adventure with Santa Barbara Chocolate Today

Because chocolate is without a doubt one of the most interesting foods in the world, you should never feel guilty about snacking on a chocolate bar ever again. Even better, at Santa Barbara Chocolate, we sell only the most high-quality chocolate from all around the world. This being the case, next time you do indulge, make sure to do so with milk chocolate made by experts such as ourselves, who really do know more than a little about real life Chocolatology.