It’s World Chocolate day! Yippee! Yay! Let’s celebrate by eating as much chocolate as possible! July 7th is celebrated as World chocolate day or International chocolate day because it marks 467 years since chocolate was introduced.
Introduced? By whom? From where? – Ah – Let’s start the facts.
Chocolate is part of the ‘Colombian exchange’
When Christopher Columbus discovered and explored the Americas in the 1400s; he came across many plants, insects and animals. Some examples of these are chillies, potatoes, Maize, tomatoes and of course – chocolate! Can you believe that all these things were unknown in India till the Europeans brought them to India from South America? We owe the samosa, chutney and chocolate milkshake all to Columbus and his voyages.
Chocolate has been consumed by the South American’s since thousands of years
The Mesoamerican people have been consuming drinks made from chocolate beans since ages. The oldest remains are dated to 1750 BCE… almost 4000 years ago!
It’s extremely bitter in its natural state!
The beans from the Cacao pod are extremely bitter and need to be fermented and intensely processed to be enjoyable. In fact, the Native American name for it is, ‘bitter water’ and had an extremely unpleasant taste for those unused to it.
It was originally consumed as a drink
When it was introduced to the Spanish court, it was first rejected, until they started to mix it with vanilla, honey, sugar along with pepper and other spices to make it palatable. This made it a hit across Europe and even the Bishop of Rome said that religious fasts are not broken by drinking chocolate. Chocolate drinks took Europe by storm and the chocolate business took off.
Food of the gods
The scientific name of the Cacao tree is ‘Theobrama cacao’ – which actually means ‘the food of the gods’ in Latin.
Most of the chocolate is grown in Africa
Though chocolate originated in South America, the demand exceeded the supply rapidly. Hence, the Europeans started planting cacao in Africa as the continent had suitable soil, weather and cheap labour. Chocolate plantations are still an important part of the economy of several African nations such as Ivory Coast.
Chocolate industry is 50 Billion dollar per year and growing
Europe contributes to almost half of this revenue. Another 20 billion is consumed in the US and the rest is the remainder. The world’s largest chocolate companies are Cadbury, Guylian, Ferrero, Hershey’s, Lindt and Sprungli, Mars etc.
Making of the delicious slab
It takes around 400 cacao beans to make 450 grams of chocolate.
It has health benefits too!
Eating dark chocolate on a daily basis can reduce the risk of heart disease by one-third. So go on and start eating! Contrary to popular belief, chocolate is good for the teeth and has an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth and protects against tooth decay.
But wait, there are homemade chocolates too
Hill stations in South India such as Ooty and Kodaikanal has plenty of chocolate factories that produce chocolates. Chocolate Factory, Pot Luck, Cloud Street are some of the bakeries that sell homemade chocolates in Kodaikanal while King Star Bakery is the best place in Ooty to buy homemade chocolate. Stay with us at our resorts at Ooty and Kodaikanal and enjoy our impeccable services.