Chocolate is everywhere! In shops, in the cupboard, in our face. It's hard to escape this delicious snack, isn't it. We all know chocolate tastes lovely. That's a given, but what else do you know about this confectionery hero?
Read on, but here's a word of warning: the words and images on this page may make you want to grab a chocolate bar!
1. Chocolate grows on trees!
Well... sort of. It all starts with the Theobroma cacao tree, which grows pods which are full of cacao seeds, which go through a lengthy process to become the chocolate we can buy in the shops. Theobroma is a Greek word which basically means 'food of the gods', and we totally agree.
2. Milky Way bars have nothing to do with space!
This fluffy chocolate treat was created in 1923 and its name was inspired by a popular malted milkshake. If you're disappointed by the lack of space facts, here's one: there's an Ancient Greek myth about the goddess Hera – the goddess of women, marriage and childbirth – sprayed that part of the galaxy with milk. The Milky Way also is home to over 100 billion stars. Again, we're talking about space, not the chocolate bar.
3. Is there a World Chocolate Day?
Yes, on July 7. Unless you live in Latvia, then it's four days later. If we told you there was a National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day celebrated on November 7, you'd think we were joking, right? Nope. It's a real event. Mmm, bittersweet chocolate with almonds. And there's Easter and Christmas!
4. How many cocoa beans does it take to make a pound of chocolate?
We're glad you asked. The answer is 400.
5. Is it true that you can find cockroaches in your chocolate?
There's a good chance that a tiny, tiny piece of cockroach or any other insect part may have found its way into your snack. In the United States of America, the FDA – the Food and Drug Administration, who look after public health – say that anything less than SIXTY insect pieces per 100 grams of chocolate is fine to eat. It might sound disgusting, but think of all that extra protein. Chockroaches, more like.
6. How many types of chocolate are there?
While it would take a long time to list all the different brands of chocolate bar, we can tell you there is four types. There's milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and caramelised white chocolate, which is called blonde chocolate.
7. Which countries do we need to thank for chocolate?
Over half of the world's cocoa beans are harvested in two countries: the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Give those countries a massive medal for their essential work, we say.
8. How long does it take to make a bar of chocolate?
Once the cocoa beans have been harvested, it can take anywhere up to eight days to make chocolate. The beans have to ferment – a natural process which will give the beans a more chocolately flavour – before going to chocolate factories.
9. Why did Charlie and the Chocolate Factory change its title for the film?
Quaker Oats – the company that makes breakfast items – helped pay for the 1971 film version of Roald Dahl's book. The title was changed to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, because Quaker Oats were making their own Wonka bars. The chocolate bars weren't in the shops very long as they apparently melted at room temperature.
10. Why do some ingredients say 'cacao' and 'cocoa'?
Chocolate experts tend to refer to cacao when the beans are in their raw form. Cocoa is often used to refer to the beans when they've been fermented, then turned into powder. The word comes from the Olmecs, who lived in the area which is now called Mexico.
11. Does the UK like chocolate?
Ooh, just a bit. According to research almost 661,000 tons of chocolate is sold each year. With a bit of maths, that means everyone in the UK eats three bars a week.
12. Chocolate was once used as currency!
The Mayans believed that cocoa beans were rarer than gold dust, and people would make fake beans by painting pieces of clay. The word 'chocolate' actually comes from the word xocolatl, which means 'bitter drink'. The Mayans made a chocolate drink from the beans.
13. Who holds the record for the world's biggest chocolate bar?
Three Dutch people – Frits van Noppen, Jeroen Hollestein, Niek Verhoeven and Simon Koster – broke the record with their creation, which measured 383.24 square metres! Money raised from this record attempt went to the international charity Mercy Ships.
14. You can't give chocolate to your cat or dog!
It'll make them very ill, so don't even think about it. Even if they try to make you feel guilty.
15. White chocolate isn’t really chocolate!
White chocolate contains ingredients like sugar, cocoa butter, milk products and vanilla. But as it doesn't contain any cocoa solids, it's not technically classed as chocolate.
16. The chocolate chip cookie was a mistake!
17. What does the Cookie Monster think about this?
We're sure the biscuit connoisseur is very grateful to Ruth Wakefield. By the way, do you know what the Cookie Monster's real name is? It's Sid.
18. Which genius invented chocolate milk?
According to the Natural History Museum, this delicious dairy drink was invented by Sir Hans Sloane, who was an Irish plant expert. While he was in Jamaica, he was given a drink of cocoa. He wasn't too keen on the taste, so he added milk to it. He brought his 'recipe' back to the UK and it was sold as a type of medicine.
19. Chocolate chips give you energy!
Scientists have worked out that 35 chocolate chips will give your body enough energy to walk a mile. Anyone fancy a walk? By that, we mean, who wants to eat some chocolate chips. Of course, walking is good exercise.
20. Napoléon loved chocolate!
It has been said that the French military commander Napoléon Bonaparte was a chocolate fan, and would carry some in war for a boost if energy when required. He's also famous for coining the phrase, 'an army marches on its stomach' (in French), meaning it's important to eat food when you're doing strenuous tasks. As you can see from this image, ol' Bonaparte was reaching into his coat for a sneaky piece of choc!