Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate!
Chocolate, general term for the products of the seeds of the cacao or chocolate tree, used for making beverages or confectionery. The flavor of chocolate depends not only on the quality of the cocoa nibs (the remainder after the seeds are fermented, dried, and roasted) and the flavorings but also on a complex process of grinding, heating, and blending. The chocolate liquid formed in an intermediate stage is used in the confectionery trade as a covering for fruits, candies, or cookies, or the process may be continued and the resulting smooth mass of chocolate molded, cooled, and packaged as candy. It should be hard enough to snap when broken, have a mellow flow when melting, be free of gritty particles, and have a rich, dark color and an aromatic smell and flavor.
A chocolate beverage was known to the Aztecs and through Spanish explorers found (c.1500) its way into Europe; the Maya may have made such a drink as early as 900 BC In 1657 a shop was opened in London where chocolate was sold at luxury prices. It became a fashionable drink; many shops sprang up to become centers of political discussion and grow into famous clubs, such as the Cocoa Tree.
Chocolate was first manufactured in the United States at Milton Lower Mills, near Dorchester, Mass., in 1765. About 1876, M. D. Peter of Vevey, Switzerland, perfected a process of making milk chocolate by combining the cocoa nib, sugar, fat, and condensed milk. The United States has the world's largest chocolate-manufacturing industry.
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Is Chocolate Poisonous to my dog?
YES YES YES!
a chemical in chocolate called theobromine is the source of the problem. Theobromine is similar to caffeine. Theobromine is toxic to a dog when it ingests between 100 and 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
Different types of chocolate contain different amounts of theobromine: It would take 20 ounces of milk chocolate to kill a 20-pound dog, but only 2 ounces of baker's chocolate or 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate. It is not that hard for a dog to get into something like an Easter basket full of chocolate eggs and bunnies and gobble up a pound or two of chocolate. If the dog is small, that could be deadly.
It turns out that chocolate poisoning is actually not as unusual as it sounds. For a human being, caffeine is toxic at levels of 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (see this page). That's the same as for dogs! Humans generally weigh a lot more than dogs, but small children can get into trouble with caffeine or chocolate if they consume too much of it. Infants are especially vulnerable because they don't eliminate caffeine from the bloodstream nearly as quickly as adults.
So, PLEASE don't feed your pet chocolate!
Did you know that most people, if getting to pick a free piece of candy out of a whole grouping of candy, will choose the Chocolate piece! You bet cha! And that goes for me too! Chocolate is the #1 choice in candy picks.
Chocolate is a favorite for kids and adults alike. Chocolate bars, chocolate fudge, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, hot chocolate, chocolate sauce... There is something special about this substance -- so special that the average person in the United States eats 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of chocolate every year!
No wonder we're all Choc-ah-holics!
New research is finding that chocolate contains flavonoids, also found in wine and tea and thought to have a role in reducing the risk of heart disease.
TYPES OF CHOCOLATE
Pure cocoa liquor with nothing added
Cocoa bean solids; cocoa liquor pressed to remove
the cocoa butter
Pure cocoa liquor with extra cocoa butter and
Pure cocoa liquor with extra cocoa butter, sugar
and milk solids; more milk than chocolate liquor
Cocoa butter with sugar and milk; no cocoa
Chocolate Fun Facts
- Chocolate syrup was used to represent blood in the famous 45 second shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "Psycho" a scene which took 7 days to shoot. ~
- Once upon a time, money did grow on trees. Cocoa beans were used as currency by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations over 1400 years ago. When they had too much money to spend, they brewed the excess into hot chocolate drinks.
- The Swiss consume more chocolate per capita than any other nation on earth. That's 22 pounds each compared to 11 pounds per person in the United States.
- Rumor has it that Napoleon carried chocolate with him on all his military campaigns for a quick energy snack.
- The word "chocolate" comes from the Aztec word "xocolatl", which means "bitter water".
- Seven billion pounds of chocolate and candy are manufactured each year in the United States.
- Chocolate is America's favorite flavor. A recent survey revealed that 52 percent of U.S. adults said they like chocolate best. The second favorite flavor was a tie (at 12 percent each) between berry flavors and vanilla.
- Chocolate manufacturers currently use 40 percent of the world's almonds and 20 percent of the world's peanuts.
- Seventy-one percent of American chocolate eaters prefer milk chocolate.
- The Midwest and the Northeast consume more candy per region than the South, Southwest, West or Mid-Atlantic states.
- The melting point of cocoa butter is just below the human body temperature -- which is why it literally melts in your mouth.
- Older children are significantly more likely to prefer chocolate than younger children (59 percent of 9-11 year-olds prefer chocolate vs. 46 percent of 6-8 year-olds), according to a recent survey.
- Denmark has the highest per capita consumption of candy in the world at 29.5 pounds.
- Americans over 18 years of age consume 65 percent of the candy that's produced each year.
- According to a recent survey conducted by NCA/CMA, candy is the No. 1 choice among children for afternoon snacking.
- Younger children are more likely than older children to prefer hard candies.
- About 65 percent of American candy brands have been around for more than 50 years.
Source: National Confectioners Association/Chocolate Manufacturers Association
- The History of Chocolate - Besides the usual timeline of chocolate history, you'll also find information on chocolate processing, white chocolate's place in history, and how to recognize good chocolate.
- A Chocolate Lover's Timeline - Godiva presents chocolate milestones throughout history, all the way back to 1592 and even the year 600! Wow!
- Chocolate History Time Line - Here's another time line for you. For over 3000 years, Chocolate…like gold, has had a universal appeal. Travel back to 2,000 B.C. and work your way up to modern times.
- A Brief History of Fudge - A short lesson on the origins of fudge along with some classic recipes, including a vintage 1888 one from Vassar College
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