Chocolate, Food

It's International Chocolate Day: 10 things you didn't know about this delectable delight

Today, July 7th, is International Chocolate Day, and we're unwrapping some surprising facts about everyone's favorite treat.

Assorted Gourmet Chocolates (Photo: Shutterstock / DesignMarjolein)

As the world celebrates International Chocolate Day on July 7th, here are ten intriguing facts about this beloved treat:

1. Ancient Origins: Chocolate's history dates back to the Maya civilization, where it was consumed as a bitter drink called "xocolatl," often flavored with chili.

2. European Introduction: Chocolate was first brought to Europe's shores around 1550, though some sources suggest it may have arrived earlier.

3. From Luxury to Everyday: Initially, chocolate was a luxury reserved for the wealthy. The Industrial Revolution made it widely accessible.

4. Varieties of Cocoa: There are three main varieties of cocoa beans: Criollo (the rarest), Forastero (the most common), and Trinitario (a hybrid of the two).

5. Long-lived Trees: Cocoa trees can live up to 200 years but only produce beans for about 25 of those years.

6. Food of the Gods: The scientific name for the cocoa tree, "Theobroma," literally means "food of the gods" in Latin.

7. Health Benefits: Studies have shown that dark chocolate, rich in cocoa solids, may have cardiovascular benefits and help reduce blood pressure.

8. Not for Pets: Theobromine, found in chocolate, is toxic to many animals including dogs, cats, and horses.

9. Chocolate Artistry: In English, a chocolate artisan is called a Chocolatier. In Hebrew, the Academy of the Hebrew Language approved the term "shokoladai" in 2014.

10. White Chocolate Isn't Chocolate: Technically, white chocolate isn't considered true chocolate as it contains no cocoa solids, only cocoa butter.

As chocolate lovers indulge today, these facts offer a deeper appreciation for the complex history and science behind this global favorite. From its ancient roots to modern-day production, chocolate continues to captivate both casual consumers and culinary experts alike.

* Srugim contributed to this article.

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