14 Fun Facts About Chocolate For Kids
The next time you use a microwave oven, thank chocolate. Confused? Well, chocolate had a part to play in the invention of this appliance. Here are unbelievable yet true and fun facts about chocolate.
By Ashwin Dewan
“The 12-step chocolate program: NEVER BE MORE THAN 12 STEPS AWAY FROM CHOCOLATE” Terry Moore (American cartoonist)
One cannot but smile and agree wholeheartedly with the above quote. Forget 12 steps, it would be difficult, even impossible, to maintain even a few inches for a true chocolate lover. Are you or your child one?
Chocolate – a word synonymous with childhood treats, of fantasies involving rivers of chocolate, of unlimited supply of chocolate bars and much more. From Cadburys to Nestle, Amul to Five Star, Indian kids have always been spoilt for choice when it comes to chocolate.
Chocolate: A brief history
Chocolate has been around since ancient times. And, when we say ancient, we mean from the time of the Aztecs and the Mayans. In fact, chocolate derives its name from the Aztec word ‘xocoatl’ that referred to a bitter and spicy drink made from cacao beans. While the Aztecs loved this drink, the ancient Mayans are believed to be the first people to regularly grow cacao trees and drink chocolate. Interesting, isn’t it?
Fun and unique facts about chocolate
But, what about those fun facts about chocolate? Yes, ones that discuss about the world’s largest chocolate bar, the first milk chocolate, the truth about white chocolate…the list is endless. Fret not chocolate lovers, we bring you unique and, few weird, facts about chocolate that every kid and parent would love to know.
1. Thank your chocolate for the microwave oven
The title may seem vague and confusing. But yes, one interesting and unknown fact is that a chocolate bar played a major part in the invention of the microwave oven. Wondering how? Apparently, during World War II, an American engineer named Percy Spencer, part of a company called Raytheon, was working on radar technology. One day, he took a walk through the radar field when a chocolate bar he had kept for future consumption in his shirt pocket melted. An intrigued Percy Spencer investigated this phenomenon further and went on to develop a must-have appliance in most kitchens today – the microwave oven. Talk about a delicious discovery.
2. England produced the world’s first chocolate bar
England has the unique distinction of being the country that produced the world’s first ever chocolate bar. In 1847, Joseph Fry, the head of Fry & Sons Chocolate Company located in Bristol, England produced the first chocolate bar. The bar was made of cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and a sugar mixture.
3. Fancy a 5,827 kg chocolate bar
We are not kidding! This is one bar that even chocolate addicts would struggle to finish. Measuring 13 feet in width and length, this giant bar was created by British confectionary firm Thorntons to mark its centenary. No prizes for guessing that this humongous slab of tasty delight made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s biggest chocolate bar.
The key ingredients were sugar, dried whole milk powder, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, butter oil and emulsifier.
4. Milk chocolate was invented in Switzerland
In 1875, a candlemaker turned chocolate maker invented what the world now famously knows and relishes as the milk chocolate in the province of Vevey in Switzerland. It was not easy though – Peter had to face difficulties when mixing milk into the cocoa mass as the high-water concentration would cause the mixture to separate. After almost seven to eight years of experimentation, he eventually discovered a solution – condensed milk produced by a famous name in the chocolate industry, Nestle. A sweet combination to say the least!
5. A ‘delicious’ currency
The next time you buy groceries, you can pay cacao instead of paper currency. That is, if you have a time machine and travel to the age of the Mayans. During the Maya period (250-900 CE) cacao was exchanged for various goods and services making it the currency of that era. The Maya kings also collected cacao as tax, which further proves the use of cacao as currency.
6. Your favourite chocolate chip cookie was created…by accident
In another fact that most kids would not know, the universally-loved chocolate chip cookie was created by accident. And we have Ruth Wakefield to thank for this. As owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, in the 1930s, Ruth added broken chocolate bar pieces into her cookie batter so they would melt. But the chocolate pieces retained their original form softening to a moist melt and, just like that, the chocolate chip cookie was born.
7. Chocolate melts in your mouth but not in your hand
Relishing a piece of chocolate inside the mouth is one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, has it ever occurred to you why chocolate melts in the mouth but not in your hand? The solution to this little ‘mystery’ can be attributed to the fact that chocolate is the only edible substance to melt around 26°C / 93°F. This is just below the human body temperature.
8. White chocolate is not chocolate…technically speaking
White chocolate is not chocolate. What? Now hold on for a minute. How is that possible? White chocolate is not considered chocolate in the very sense as it does not contain cocoa solids or chocolate liquor. However, it does contain parts of the cacao bean (mainly cocoa butter).
9. 400 cocoa beans equal to half a kilo of chocolate
Whoa! Looks like making chocolate is no child’s play. It requires a lot of effort. It takes a massive number of cocoa beans (around 400) to make half a kilo of chocolate. This is hard work considering each cacao tree produces approximately 2,500 beans of cacao. Also, cacao trees are delicate so farmers end up losing almost 30 per cent of their crop each year.
Make sure you do not waste even a tiny bit of chocolate!
10. Chocolate has more flavour compounds than red wine
Red wine has around 200 flavour compounds. Impressive, isn’t it? Well, it is good but not great because chocolate contains over 600 flavour compounds. Yes, you heard it right! This number gives chocolate its distinct aroma.
11. Nutella was invented during World War II
From kids to parents, everyone loves Nutella. But not everyone knows the history behind this delicious spread. Well, it was invented during World War II by an Italian pastry maker who mixed hazelnuts into chocolate to extend his cocoa supply at a time when the price of chocolate was hiked up due to the war. This resulted in the creation of a sweet treat called Pasta Gianduja.
Later, his son renamed the product as Nutella where ella means sweet in Latin.
12. The world’s most expensive chocolate bar
The Wispa Gold Wrapped Bar by Cadbury is considered as “The World’s Most Expensive Chocolate Bar.” It was designed as a marketing campaign to relaunch their brand of caramel chocolate bars, Wispa Gold. But this expensive version is wrapped in an edible gold leaf. It cost $1,430 per bar. In Indian rupees, this would roughly amount to a whopping Rs 1,05,249!
13. Cacao trees can live up to 200 years
Worried that your favourite chocolate might disappear one day? Fret not, if cacao trees continue to thrive, there is no need to worry. And if it is any consolation, cacao trees have a life expectancy of an incredible 200 years. However, there is a catch! Despite its longevity, each cacao tree can only produce cocoa beans for about 25 years while producing approximately 40 pods each year.
14. A day to celebrate chocolate
If you love something, you will always find ways to celebrate it! The same goes for chocolate lovers all over the world. 7 July is officially earmarked as Chocolate Day to commemorate the day when chocolate was first brought to the shores of Europe in 1550. But wait, our love for chocolate does not end here – there is an International Chocolate Day on 13 September, and America’s National Milk Chocolate Day on 28 July. Talk about the love for chocolate.
About the Author:
Written by Ashwin Dewan on 6 May 2020.
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