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Tastemade/Snapchat

15 Fun Facts You Probably Never Knew About Chocolate

If you have a stash of Hershey’s kisses in your bedside table or do thorough research on which dark chocolate is best for your heart, then you probably consider yourself a chocolate aficionado – or, at least, a super fan. But how much do you really know about the melt-in-your mouth candy we all adore or the ancient bean from whence it came? We’re about to find out. Here are 15 things you probably didn’t know about chocolate.

It’s technically a vegetable

Milk and dark chocolate come from the cacao bean, which grows on the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), an evergreen from the family Malvaceae (other members of the family include okra and cotton). This makes the most important part of the sweet treat a veggie. Eating your daily vegetables just got a whole lot easier.

White chocolate isn’t really chocolate

White chocolate truffles #whitechocolate #chocolates #chocolates

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Sorry, white chocolate lovers. Since this extra-sweet variety doesn’t contain cocoa solids or chocolate liquor, it isn’t chocolate in the strict sense. However, it does contain parts of the cacao bean — mainly cocoa butter — so that counts a little bit.

Cacao was once used as currency

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The cacao bean is native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Archeologists say the ancient inhabitants of these areas started cultivating the bean as far back as 1900 BCE and that the valuable bean was used as currency in the Aztec society. Cacao beans would be traded for luxury items like jade and ceremonial feathers, or everyday items such as food and clothes.

Most cacao beans are now grown in Africa

Despite its Central American roots, nowadays most cacao (nearly 70% of the world’s supply) comes from Africa. The Ivory Coast is the largest single producer, providing about 30 percent of all the world’s cacao.

Napoleon loved chocolate

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The French leader demanded that chocolate be made available to him and his senior advisers even during intense military campaigns. He was famously known to choose chocolate over coffee when he worked late at night, often enjoying the sweet until 2 or 3 a.m.

Milk chocolate was invented almost 4,000 years after chocolate was first cultivated

The Mayans and Aztecs were enjoying the bitter cacao bean long before the dawn of modern society, but that “chocolate” is nothing like a Hershey bar you’d go pick up at the store. The most popular chocolate in the modern world (although its darker counterpart has become extremely trendy recently) is milk chocolate – however, this wasn’t invented until 3,600 years after ancient civilizations started enjoying cacao.

Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter created the tasty treat in 1875 after eight years of trying to make his recipe work. Condensed milk ended up being the key ingredient he was missing.

The invention of the first chocolate bar started a manufacturing empire


Credit: Flickr

In 1847, British chocolate maker Joseph Fry found a way to mix the ingredients of cocoa powder, sugar and cocoa to manufacture a paste that could then be molded into a chocolate bar unlike anything the world had seen before. Demand was immediately high, and the Fry Chocolate Factory in Bristol, England began pumping out the bars. In the following decades, over 220 innovative chocolate products were introduced to the masses, including production of the first chocolate Easter egg in UK in 1873 and the Fry’s Turkish Delight (or Fry’s Turkish bar) in 1914. In 1896, the firm became a registered private company and was run by the Fry family, with Joseph Storrs Fry II, grandson of the first Joseph Storrs Fry, as Chairman.

Hot chocolate was the first chocolate treat

But, to be fair, it wasn’t quite the frothy, delicious drink we know today. The OG hot chocolate was an Aztec invention called xocolatl, which means “bitter water.” The drink was made with cacao beans, vanilla, and chili peppers and was thought to help battle fatigue. When Columbus and his men brought cacao beans back to Europe, sugar was then added to the drink, helping it to become popular throughout modern society. Now we get to watch first hand as YouTuber wilmo55 shows us a behind-the-scenes look at how this ancient beverage was prepared centuries ago. We’re not sure how well xocolatl would go over in our AS (After Starbucks) age, but we know that we owe a lot to this ancient drink.

Chocolate inspired the invention of the microwave

The thing that heats up so many of our frozen dinners and takeout leftovers – we owe it all to a little bit of melted chocolate. About 70 years ago, Raytheon engineer Percy Spencer was testing military-grade magnetron (or really intense magnets) when legend has it the heat made the chocolate bar in his pocket melt. Fascinated, Spencer brought popcorn kernels into the office next day and put them by the same heat, creating the first ever batch of microwave popcorn. Thanks to his melted snack, the microwave oven was born. Check out this How Stuff Works video to get the whole history on our favorite appliance.

Cacao trees can live to be 200 years old

It probably sounds impressive that these ancient trees, which have been revered as “gifts from the gods,” can live to be centuries old. Seems fitting, right? Unfortunately, there is an interesting catch. Although these trees can live to be hundreds of years old, they old produce cacao beans for 25 years of that time. Talk about delicious irony.

Chocolate has a special melting point

When modern day chocolatiers were trying to find a way to market candy that wouldn’t melt in the consumer’s pocket, they discovered the trick was to make the melting point right below the human body temperature. Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt between 85-93° F, which is why it melts so easily on your tongue; it has a specially designed “mouthfeel” unlike any substance on earth, somewhere between solid and liquid. Want to learn how to melt chocolate correctly? Then you need this quick video tutorial from Everyday Food to feel like a honest-to-goodness chocolatier.

There’s now a chocolate that can withstand intense temperatures

Food scientists have been laboring for decades to come up with chocolate that won’t melt in the higher temperatures, to accommodate warmer places around the world. In 2012, Cadbury announced that they were developing a technique for formulating a bar that could withstand very high temperatures – up to 104 °F. By grinding the sugar down to a smaller particle size and reducing the fat content, Cadbury’s new chocolate can withstand much higher temperatures without liquefying. The company hopes to introduce the product in Africa and Brazil in the future.

Chocolate helped the Allies win World War II

Granted, there was a lot more that won the war than eating chocolate, but historians credit the chocolate rations Hershey provided to the troops as a source of positive morale and energy. The Hershey Chocolate company was approached in 1937 about creating a specially designed bar just for U.S. Army emergency rations. According to Hershey’s chief chemist Sam Hinkle, the U.S. government had just four requests about their new chocolate bars: they had to weigh 4 ounces, be high in energy, withstand high temperatures and “taste a little better than a boiled potato.” According to some soldiers, the taste of a boiled potato was preferred to these ration bars, but the treat had a knack for picking up the soldier’s energy and spirits.

It shares some similarities with marijuana

The cacao bean has this nifty concoction of chemicals in it, a mixture that really sets off the pleasure centers in our brain (which is why we love/crave chocolate constantly). One of the big parts of that mixture is a chemical known as anandamide, which activates dopamine receptors and consequently, makes us happy. The most closely related compound to this chemical is THC, which is the main constituent of cannabis and has a similar effect in the brain.

Switzerland consumes the most chocolate per year

According to U.S. News, Switzerland is the #1 purchaser of chocolate in the world. The people of Switzerland purchased 18.1 lbs. of chocolate (yes, per person) in 2015 and that number went up to 19.8 in 2016. On the other hand, the U.S. wasn’t in the Top 10 in 2015 and broke in at #9 last year, with Americans buying 9.5 lbs. of chocolate for themselves in 2016. Honestly? We were expecting a lot more.

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Sweets Tastemade/Snapchat

Chocolate Flashbacks: How I Remember Caramello Growing Up

The Cadbury Caramello — or Caramilk as it’s known in England — was invented by British chocolatier John Cadbury. Dissatisfied with the lack of gooey centers in the world he left behind, his enraged spirit roused after nearly eight decades of peaceful slumber to push the first Caramello bars into production in 1968.

As a child growing up in the late ‘80s, though, I felt the mystical enchantment of this confection went beyond the supernatural and into the realm of the superhuman.

Caramello chocolate commercial

One of my earliest food memories revolves around a Caramello commercial: it’s 1989, and biting into a Cadbury Caramello grants an average man the uncanny ability to stretch any object in his apartment using only his bare hands. “Strrrretch it outCaramello!” admonishes a voice reminiscent of Huey Lewis.

Chalk it up to my love of Superman or my childlike faith in advertising, but I couldn’t resist. Who would turn down a candy bar that grants uncanny stretching powers to all who consume it?

My mother insisted that biting into a Caramello wouldn’t allow me to stretch out the dog, but I knew she was wrong. I was on mission to attain world saving capabilities (or at least make the TV bigger) and there was no time to waste.

Caramello chocolate commercial

I bit halfway through one of the caramel-filled pockets of chocolate and stretched the bar away from my teeth as I sang the ritualistic chant: “Strrrretch it 

I wasn’t able to finish because the strand of caramel broke and hit my chin. I looked foolish but remained undaunted, seizing a lamp from a near-by table and tried to strrrretch it out.

But the dang thing wouldn’t budge. No stretching, no super powers. Just a symphony of rich velvety caramel and Cadbury’s trademark über-milky chocolate. What a shame… ? I was mystified.

The adult version of me is at least glad that I didn’t try canned spinach on the advice of Popeye. And, unless you consider seven cavities a superpower, you shouldn’t believe everything you see on TV.

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Restaurants

Cadbury’s Creme Egg Cafe Is Opening And Its ALL Creme Egg Dishes

Cadbury, the chocolate and candy company, born and raised in the UK since 1879, is about to give everybody in London diabetes with their new Creme Egg Cafe opening on January 22.

The cafe will be a pop-up, meaning it will only be around for a short time. Cadbury plans to close its doors on March 6, though reopening them again in another location at a later date is not out of the question.

The cafe will be comprised of three floors, each offering a glimpse into the world of Cadbury and its endless possibilities.

The first floor will be simple, selling Creme Egg Toasties for people on the go or simply trying to fuel up on some creamy, chocolatey sugar before work. For those who don’t know, a toastie is basically the British version of a panini. Traditionally, the edges of the toastie are grilled into each other in order to seal the contents within the sandwich, keeping the contents warm and your fingers clean(er).

The second floor will feature the main restaurant, offering all creme egg-based dishes along with tables that can be reserved, and should be, considering how packed the restaurant will be from open to close. Walk-ins will be allowed, but availability will be an issue, so they are not recommended.

The third and final floor will simply be a ball pit for people to splash around in when life gets them down. Frankly, it’s a genius move by Cadbury, since people will now have a place to expel all the energy they’ll have after eating any of the sugar-packed meals available to them.

I think I speak for many when I say that I’ve never been more egg-cited for a restaurant than I am now.

Photo Credit: Serious Eats, bakearama

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Hit-Or-Miss

Chocolate’s Shape Can Change Its Taste, Says Science

cadbury-bar

When Britain’s beloved Dairy Milk got a makeover, the country was in uproar, claiming that the taste had completely changed.  The chunks of chocolate are now curved, and according to some reviewers, taste “oily and sickly.”

Even though Cadbury said the recipe hadn’t changed at all, scientists, chocolatiers, and chefs all agree that shape can absolutely affect the way chocolate tastes.  It influences how quickly the chocolate melts, which in turn affects the order and speed with which certain food molecules are released onto the tongue and into the nose, creating our experience of taste.  In regards to the new Cadbury bar, the change in shape potentially changed the way these chemicals are released, leading to a new, if less pleasant flavor.

It’s important to note that our memories of food and shape can also affect our perception of the food’s flavor if it changes.

H/T BBC + PicThx Cadbury

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Cravings

A Cadbury Crème Egg McFlurry Exists

cadburymcflurry

Every so often, we come across of piece of not-news that is still jaw-dropping enough that we feel compelled to share it with the other five readers who haven’t heard of it yet. In today’s edition of Slowpoke!Foodbeast, we give you: The Cadbury Crème Egg McFlurry.

First introduced in New Brunswick (i.e., somewhere in Canada) in 1997, the gooey fondant and chocolate swirled concoction is usually available in most Canadian, British and Irish McDonald’s locations around Easter, just like its namesake – but of course not in America, because Americans can’t have nice things. Other noteworthy international McFlurries detailed in a recent Web Urbanist round-up include the stinky Durian Crunch in Singapore, the minty Nestle After Eight in the UK and the malty Milo Supreme in Malaysia, all of which begs the question why McDonald’s USA seems to hate us so much.

What do you say, Mickey D’s, how about you just give us a Nutella McFlurry (which, believe it or not, actually doesn’t exist yet) and we call it even?

H/T Web Urbanist + PicThx McDonald’s UK

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Hit-Or-Miss

Apparently Cadbury Crème Eggs Contain Traces of Beaver Butts

beaveregg

Halt! Put down that leftover Easter candy. You might want to read this first.

Before today, the most of your worries were whether or not ants managed to dig their way into your colorful plastic eggs, but it turns out the most terrifying part of one popular Easter treat actually comes from within.

According to the Huffington Post, Cadbury Crème Eggs contain an artificial sweetener called castoreum, commonly listed as “natural flavoring” in vanilla and raspberry-flavored treats and which is derived from, yes, the anal gland excretions of beavers.

Except a look on the castoreum Wikipedia page says the anal glands and castor glands are separate and that castoreum is actually used along with beaver urine to mark territory, so I’m not really sure which to believe.

But if I had to choose, I think I’d much rather have the latter. I mean, that’s like choosing between eating poop and drinking pee right? And it only makes sense to pick  . . . pee . . . right?

H/T LAist + PicThx Wunderground

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Hit-Or-Miss

Sorry Barney, Alice Walker – Cadbury Now Has Exclusive Rights to the Color Purple

cadburypurple

‘Tis the season for giving, or is that not right?

In any case, Cadbury has just proven itself a real Scrooge by beating Nestlé in the England High Court over exclusive rights to the color purple – specifically, Pantone 2685C.

The ruling allows Cadbury to continue to use the color for all its bars, tablets and drinks and prohibits competitors from using it. The battle has roots as far back as 2004, when Cadbury applied for the trademark of Pantone 2685C, which then prompted Nestlé to argue that they couldn’t “practically” trademark a color.

As related by Design Taxi, however, the judge ruled in favor of Cadbury, reasoning “The evidence clearly supports a finding that purple is distinctive of Cadbury for milk chocolate.” Also that Cadbury has been using the color since 1914 and the British public would be confused if they saw it being used elsewhere.

Right, so it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Cadbury is UK-based and Nestle is Swiss and the case was undertaken in the British judicial system? Sureeee.

Still, the ruling demonstrates the growing importance of color (colour) in marketing and branding, as stated by Paul Medlicott, head of FMCG at law firm Addleshaw Goddard in The Guardian: “Trademarks of names and logos are familiar to most businesses, but the high court’s ruling in favour of Cadbury shows the increasing importance of colour trademarks.”

Quite right, too.

H/T + PicThx Design Taxi

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Hit-Or-Miss

Way Better Than Candy: Cadbury Irish Crème Egg Jello Shots

irishcremeeggs

What, it’s been two whole months since we last had a Jello shot recipe up on the site? That’s just unacceptable.

Kind of like discovering that some people actually leave carrots out for the Easter Bunny on Easter, resulting in better treats found in their Easter eggs. No wonder all my friends kept finding $20 while I was always stuck with measly Hershey’s Kisses.

Luckily, we’re grown-ups now and totally in control of the quality of our Easter celebrations, which would arguably be vastly improved by whipping a batch of these Cadbury Irish Crème Egg Jello Shots by The Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn (hellooo, mouthful).

Made with cocoa powder, Irish crème liqueur, sweetened condensed milk and food coloring, these little darlings are pretty much guaranteed to be better than the real thing. Almost.

Check out the full recipe and photos here.

H/T + PicThx Neatorama