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The history of chocolate

600AD: The Maya Indians first discovered the delights of cocoa and created a drink from the beans of the cacao tree. They called the beverage cocoatl.

1528: The Spanish brought the concoction known as chocolate back to Spain.

1657: The first chocolate house was opened in London. Chocolate cost 10-15 shillings per pound and was considered a beverage for the elite class.

1824: John Cadbury, an English Quaker, begins roasting and grinding chocolate beans to sell in his tea and coffee shop. In 1842 Cadbury's Chocolate Company in England creates the first chocolate bar.

1868: The first 'chocolate box' was introduced by Richard Cadbury. 

1875: A Swiss chocolate maker, Daniel Peter, mixes Henri Nestle's condensed milk with chocolate and the two men found a company to manufacture the first milk chocolate.

1894: Milton Hershey adds a line of chocolate to his caramel manufacturing business. Soon he invents the Hershey Bar by experimenting with milk chocolate. Hershey's Cocoa soon arrive.

1896: Leonard Hershfield invents the Tootsie Roll, named after his daughter.

1897: Brownies are first mentioned in print, listed for sale in the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogue.

1900 approx: A machine called the enrober is invented to replace the task of hand-dipping chocolate.

1930: Franklin Mars invents the Snickers Bar.

1937: First chocolate chip cookie developed in America when chocolate chips were added to cookie dough.

1939: Nestle introduces semisweet chocolate morsels.

1940: The Mars company invents M&Ms for soldiers off to fight in World War Two.


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Chocolate Quotes

- "Forget love - I'd rather have chocolate!!" - Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation

- "I never met a chocolate I didn't like." - Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation

- "Emergency Alert: If wearer of this shirt is found vacant, listless, or depressed, administer chocolate immediately." - T-shirt slogan

- "All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!" - Lucy Van Pelt (in Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz)

- "I could give up chocolate but I'm not a quitter." - Lora Brody, author of 'Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet'

- "Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're gonna get." Tom Hanks, 'Forest Gump'.


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Chocolate World Records

  • The largest individual chocolate weighs 5,980 kg . It was made by Nestle (Italy) and was displayed at the Perugina factory, San Sisto, Italy, on 26 October 2003. (Guiness World Records)
  • The largest chocolate bar ever manufactured weighed 5,026 lbs and was exhibited by Elah-Dufour United Food Companies at Eurochocolate in Turin, Italy in March 2000
  • The largest box of chocolates ever made was a Frango mint chocolates box weighing 3,226 lbs, created by Marshall Field's, Chicago, Illinois, USA on November 14th 2002. The box contained 90,090 individual chocolates. (Guiness World Records)
  • On April 4th, 1996, the Rotary Club of Piet Retief, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, made a chocolate and marshmallow Easter egg which was just over 25 ft high. The egg weighed 8,968 lbs and was supported by an internal steel frame. (Guiness World Records)
  • The Northwest Fudge Factory in Ontario, Canada, cretaed a slab of fudge that weighed 2,002 lbs making it the record-holding largest slab of fudge. The chocolate and vanilla swirl fudge measured 166ft long, 9 inches wide and 3 inches high. the fudge took a total of 86 hours to prepare and 13 individuals to pour into shape. (Guiness World Records)
  • Switzerland holds the record for highest chocolate consumption with the average person consuming 11.5 kg of chocolate during 2000. This is the equivalent to 230 50g bars a year. (Guiness World Records)

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Fun Chocolate Facts

- The melting point of cocoa butter is just below the human body temperature which is why it literally melts in your mouth.

- Chocolate is one of the most popular foods around and is highly unlikely to ever go out of fashion.

- The word 'Chocolate' comes from the Aztec word 'cacahuatl' or 'xocolatl'. This means 'bitter water'.

- The Mayans and Aztecs believed that the Cocoa beans originated from paradise and would bring wisdom and power to anyone consuming them.

- The precious cocoa beans were used as a currency and as a unit of calculation in the Mayan and Aztec cultures.

- Over a lifetime the average person will eat approx 160kg of chocolate.

- Napoleon supposedly carried along chocolate on his military campaigns, and always ate it to restore energy.

- Annual world consumption of cocoa beans averages approximately 600,000 tons per year. Consumers worldwide spend more than $20 billion a year on chocolate.

- Chocolate syrup was used for blood in the famous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's film 'Psycho'.

- Although chocolate is not an aphrodisiac, as the ancients believed, it does contain phenylethylamine (PEA), a substance that is reputed to stimulate the same reaction in the body as falling in love.

- Chocolate drinking was so popular in 17th century England that the government of the day imposed a duty of 15 shillings per pound, which made chocolate worth 3/4 of its weight in gold.

- The microwave oven was invented by accident, when Percy Spencer found that his chocolate bar had been melted by an experiment he was running on radar systems. He immediately started experimenting successfully on microwaved popcorn.

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