Chocolate is one of the most popular foods on the planet. It’s a multibillion dollar industry that is more popular now than it’s ever been. Below are 20 facts about chocolate that you might not know:

  1. The first records of chocolate are from 2,500 years ago in Central America. Back then, the Mayans used the word cacao, but it was often misspelled as cocoa (which stuck). Cacao means “food for the gods” or “god food”.
  2. However, the word “chocolate” comes from the Aztec work “Xocolatl”, which means bitter water. This word has to do with the way chocolate was prepared during that time period (without sugar).
  3. Back in 1519, the explorer Hernan Cortez arrived in the Aztec capital and was introduced to chocolate by King Montezuma. Cortez hated the stuff and called it “more [of] a drink for pigs than a drink for humanity”. Remember that this was before sugar was added to cacao.
  4. Chocolate contains caffeine, which (believe it or not) has the same effects of a mild amphetamine. Chocolate addictions may be true.
  5. It was the first caffeine product to be introduced to Europe, even before coffee! Christopher Columbus introduced it to the Spanish court, but it didn’t catch on until roughly 20 years later.
  6. Chocolate cravings cannot be fulfilled by any other sweet/candy/treat other than chocolate.
  7. It is also a mild antidepressant that increases serotonin and endorphins in the brain.
  8. The myth about chocolate causing and/or increasing acne is false. So feel free to snack without worrying about pimples.
  9. Chocolate is a great energy source. One chocolate chip provides enough energy for an adult to walk 150 feet! Napoleon always carried chocolate with him in case he needed an energy boost.
  10. Every manned Russian and American space shuttle has included chocolate as part of their rations.
  11. In the classic movie “Pyscho”, Alfred Hitchcock used chocolate syrup to emulate blood in that infamous shower scene.
  12. Not only is chocolate tasty, it also helped shape modern science. Scientists were trying to improve radar detectors by testing a device called a magnetron. One of the scientists, Percy Spencer, walked into the lab with a chocolate bar in his pocket.  When he noticed the chocolate was melting, he realized that magnetron could possibly cook food. This epiphany led to the development of microwaves.
  13. 22% of chocolate is eaten between 8pm and midnight.
  14. The world’s largest chocolate bar was made by Willy Wonka. It weighs 12,190 lbs!
  15. Americans consume around 50% of the world’s chocolate. That’s around 3 billion pounds annually…or at least 12 lbs per American!
  16. Chocolate was so important to Mayans that they actually had a cocoa god.
  17.  “Death by chocolate” is true! The first recorded chocolate death was in 17th Century Mexico. The church in Chiapas, Mexico banned the consumption of chocolate during their services. An addicted community ignored the ban and killed the bishop who passed the law. The irony is that poison was found mixed into the bishop’s daily cup of chocolate.
  18. Cocoa was used as a type of currency in Latin America up until the 19th century. For example, in Mayan times 10 beans would allow you to buy either a rabbit or prostitute, 100 beans could buy you a slave. Cocoa currency was so popular that the beans were counterfeited by being carved out of clay. I guess money really did grow on trees!
  19. Chocolate can be lethal for dogs due to the ingredient “theobromine”. It is toxic to a dog’s central nervous system and cardiac muscles.
  20. You can buy some unusual flavors of chocolate. Pairings include chocolate with dried meats, bacon, chili peppers, mustard/coffee, tomato/basil, citruses, blue cheese, balsamic vinegar, mint, and tea (among others). You can also buy chocolate with chicken skin. For beverages: chocolate wine and liquor is easily found at most liquor stores.