1. Each year American's buy 48 million pounds of chocolate for Valentine's Day. That's the same weight as 128 blue whales!
2. White chocolate is technically not chocolate. The paler treat is made with only cocoa butter - not cocoa powder, as real chocolate bars are.
3. Hershey, PA smells like chocolate. Why? The Hershey's chocolate factory there produces (among other things) 20 million Hershey's Kisses a day.
4. Chocolate-covered bacon is a popular treat at many state fairs. (yuck)
5. Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao plant, which grows only in areas near the equator.
6. U.S. soldiers serving in World War II (1941-1945) were the first to eat M&Ms. The candy coating allowed troops to carry the high-energy treat without it melting.
7. Ever feel like you'd rather eat chocolate than dinner? You're not alone: an early advertisement for the candy claimed it was more filling than meat.
8. A miniature Statue of Liberty was built out of 229 pounds of chocolate.
9. The scientific name for Chocolate, theobroma cacao, means "food of the gods."
10. There are 30 to 50 seeds in each football-shaped cacao pod - that's enough to make seven bars of milk chocolate.
11. The average American eats about 12 pounds of chocolate a year.
12. A Swiss company invented a chocolate that won't melt until temperatures reach 131 degrees Fahrenheit.
13. The ancient Aztec of what is now Mexico and Central America believed chocolate had magical properties; royalty drank a spicy, bitter mixture from golden goblets.
14. The next time you have a cold, ask for a piece of chocolate. A natural chemical in the treat helps suppress coughs.
15. People in the United Kingdom eat 1,000 chocolate bars for every one bar eaten in China.
16. Rumor has it that Aztec emperor Moctezuma II drank more than a gallon of chocolate a day.
17. Chocolate covered ants are a treat in Mexico. (yuck again)
18. Just one whiff of chocolate can make a person feel happy. A chemical in cacao releases feel-good vibes in the brain.
19. Maria Theresa, Queen of France from 1660 to 1683, appointed a royal hot chocolate maker to her court.
20. It would take 15,133,852,800 Hershey Bar squares laid end to end to reach the moon. (What a waste of good chocolate).
These were taken from the February 2011 issue of Kids National Geographic. Pictures and comments in parenthesis were added by me.
You can read more about the history of chocolate on previous posts on my blog; Valuable "Almonds", Origins, Chocolate, the Cure-All, Solid Chocolate, Chocolate for the Masses, and Kid Stuff.
There is also a great blog where you can get a lot of chocolate recipes. Lisa, at Stop and Smell the Chocolates, stopped blogging but left her blog up so that we could still access all her yummy treats. If you are hankering for some chocolate and want to try a new recipe, I encourage you to stop over at her place and take a whiff. :)
Until next time...