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Do you like chocolate?  Most people do.  It is the most popular flavor in the world.  In the USA more than half of all the candy sold is chocolate.

The chocolate in the candy bar that you eat actually comes from a tree in the rainforest called the Cocoa tree, or in Spanish, Cacao (pronounced kah-KOW). Chocolate starts with cacao beans. These are seeds of the Cacao tree.  They grow inside a fleshy pod, which is the fruit of the Cacao tree. The fruit is thick and oval shaped, usually yellow or red, and can sometimes grow as big a as a football.

A cocoa pod contains an average of about 42 beans. It takes approximately 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate.  You might think that chocolate is a fruit since it's made from the fruit of the cacao tree, but it's classified as a vegetable!

Chocolate has a long history and is one of nature’s oldest foods.  More than 2000 years ago Mayan Indians in Mexico and Central America used ground cocoa beans to create a drink.  Cacao beans were so valuable in ancient Mexico that the Maya, Aztec and Toltec civilizations used them as money.  Later The Spanish explorers brought the drink back to Europe where it became very popular.  It was not until the 1800’s that they learned how to make solid chocolate.  The English chocolate company, Cadbury, made the first chocolate bar in 1842.

Chocolate not only tastes good it is good for you! Eating chocolate can help prevent tooth decay, quiet coughs, help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and help brain functions. Chocolate also contains iron, copper, zinc and magnesium; nutrients important to the body.


Did You Know?

1. The world’s biggest chocolate bar was made in Armenia in 2010.  It weighed over 9,000 pounds, about the size of an African elephant!

2. The average American will eat about 12 pounds of chocolate per year. 

3. Eating just one chocolate chip will give an average adult enough energy to walk 150 feet.

4. 23 million Hershey kisses are produced each day.

5. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and other animals.  Aren’t you glad you are not a dog!



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