Chocolate has been popular for centuries now. In fact, the Mayans and Aztecs would crush cocoa beans and drink them. While the Aztecs drank this beverage cold, the Mayans preferred it warm and fermented. Over time, people began using cocoa beans as currency when trading with others.
This substance remains popular today, although people no longer use it as a form of currency. However, many people remain unaware of some basic facts relating to this popular substance. The Chocolate Professor would like to see common misconceptions, such as those listed below, cleared up once and for all.
West African Suppliers
Most cocoa is grown today in Cote d’Ivoire. In fact, this country produces approximately 2,200,000 tons of cocoa beans each year, which is roughly 38 percent of the world’s supply. Most of the country’s export revenue comes from this one product. However, other countries also supply these popular beans.
Ghana, also located in West Africa, supplies approximately 800,000 tons of cocoa beans each year and is followed by Indonesia. This country, located in Southeast Asia, produces close to 739,000 tons of cocoa beans annually.
Many people believe Belgian remains the world’s top producer of cocoa beans. Surprisingly, it doesn’t even make it on the list of the top ten global suppliers of this product.
Top Chocolate Importers
Statista reports the United States remained the world’s top chocolate importer in 2021. America imported more than $3 billion worth of chocolate in that year alone. The United Kingdom was the second largest importer of chocolate, importing slightly over $2.5 billion of this popular substance. Other top importers included France, the Netherlands, and Canada. Belgium appeared on the list in sixth place, followed by Spain, Japan, and Australia.
Is Chocolate Healthy?
People may steer away from chocolate because they believe it isn’t healthy for them. However, there are types of chocolate that are actually good for humans. Dark chocolate lands at the top of this list.
Dark chocolate comes packed with flavonoids. These plant-based compounds come with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, they contain minerals such as magnesium and zinc. As a result, dark chocolate provides many health benefits. It helps bring stress under control while supporting healthy blood pressure. Choose chocolate that contains a minimum of 70 percent cocoa to get the most from the dark chocolate treat.
Individuals who love milk chocolate can indulge in their favorite sweets, as well. The goal is to find a treat that contains a minimum of 38 percent cocoa. The sweet will come with some flavonoids and won’t have as much sugar as conventional candy bars.
Making One Pound of Chocolate
It takes 400 dried cocoa beans to make one pound of chocolate. One Forastero cocoa tree produces approximately 20 to 30 pods each year. A grower will find between 20 and 40 beans in each pod, which means the average tree produces anywhere from 400 beans to 1200 beans each year. This means one tree can make one to three pounds of chocolate once the beans are dried. This remains the most common type of cocoa tree in the world today, accounting for up to 90 percent of the world’s cocoa production.
The actual bean is known as cacao and the cocoa is what is made from this bean. However, many people refer to both as cocoa. For those who wish to be well versed in chocolate, distinguish between the two and share this knowledge with others. Every person who loves chocolate should know all they can about this substance. This ensures they get the perfect treat every time.