Today, September 13, the International Chocolate Day, a day in which we can celebrate this food, which is undoubtedly one of the most popular and consumed in the world, but do you want to know incredible things about chocolate, its composition, origin and what effects it has on our body? We reveal 10 curiosities about chocolate that you may not have known.
International Chocolate Day 2020: 10 curiosities about chocolate that you may not have known
He International Chocolate Day is a day fixed on September 13, so that in this day, but 1957, was born Milton Hershey, founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company, which is perhaps the most important chocolate company in the United States. Also, also on September 13, but in 1916, he was born the famous british writer Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
These two ephemeris mark the establishment of the celebration of a day dedicated to chocolate, which surely we all eat daily or occasionally, but perhaps you do not know many things about this food, so that nothing like listing ten curiosities about chocolate that will surely surprise you.
To begin with: what can be defined as « chocolate »? This label defines a product consisting of cocoa beans, low-fat cocoa and cocoa powder, sucrose, and cocoa butter. With these specifications: the part derived from cocoa must be at least 35%, low-fat cocoa at least 14% and cocoa butter at least 18%.
The vegetable origin. 90% of the chocolate in circulation comes from the Forastero cacao bean (Theobroma cacao sphaerocarpum), which is easier to grow, although the one that comes from the Criollo bean (Theobroma cacao cacao) is much more precious and rare. There is also a hybrid between the two, the Trinitario, with a delicate but easily workable flavor, used mainly in confectionery (which represents 8% of the world’s cocoa).
The effects of cocoa on hunger. Cocoa powder is naturally bitter, unsweetened, low in fat, and high in antioxidants compared to other types of chocolate. The alkalizing treatment, which softens the taste, significantly removes the amount of antioxidants. According to a study by the University of Copenhagen, eating chocolate with 70% cocoa satiates the appetite, reducing hunger more than milk chocolate.
Does white chocolate really exist?. Technically it could not be defined as « chocolate », since it does not contain cocoa beans, but is obtained by mixing cocoa butter (20%), milk or derivatives (at least 14%) and sucrose (55%).
The geographical origin. Despite its Amazonian origin, almost 70% of cocoa comes from Africa. Ivory Coast is the largest producer (37% of all cocoa in the world). They are followed by Ghana (21%) and Indonesia (14%).
The dark side. Part of the production comes from the labor of the children. According to a report by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, there are some 284,000 children forced to work in inhumane conditions on cocoa plantations. Large manufacturing companies, despite good intentions, have yet to eradicate this horrible phenomenon. But the (small) companies that produce tasty fair trade chocolate, « slave free », are increasing.
A little history. Milk chocolate was created by the Swiss Daniel Peter in 1875, after 8 years of trying. In 1929, his company merged with Nestlé. The first chocolate bars? They date back to 1847 and were invented at the Fry and Sons store in Bristol, England.
Dark or very dark? The difference between dark chocolate and extra dark chocolate is in the percentage of cocoa, which in the case of extra dark chocolate can exceed 70% by weight. While in bitter it is usually lower (never less than 45%).
The benefit of chocolate. There is a lot of scientific evidence on the health properties of cocoa (bitter, not to be confused with milk chocolate or sweetened chocolate). According to a study by the University of Cambridge, published in the British Medical Journal, a little chocolate a day (approximately 7.5 grams) would reduce the risk of developing a heart attack (37%), stroke (29%) by a third ) or become diabetic (31%).
Its curious chemical characteristic. Chocolate is one of the few edible substances that melts at around 34 ° C, just below human body temperature. This is why it dissolves so easily on the tongue.