IN line with International Chocolate Day today, let’s take a moment to appreciate one of the greatest discoveries on earth through some fun and historical chocolate facts complete with some novel chocolate recipes!

Because, let’s face it: Who doesn’t love chocolate?

Chocolate money was real

We’re not talking about those chocolate coins you get in party packs. In the Mayan civilization, the first people believed to have farmed cacao, the cocoa bean was treasured and used as money to barter for food and clothes. The beans were also roasted and ground to make a bitter drink that apparently tastes nothing like hot chocolate, served to a reserve members of the civilization.

White chocolate is not actually chocolate

This depends on what you count as chocolate, really. But if you’ve ever wondered why white chocolate tastes so different from other chocolates, it’s because white chocolate does not contain any cocoa solids or cocoa liquor. The only chocolate-related by product it contains is cocoa butter.

1 kg of chocolate = 900 cocoa beans

And it takes one full year for a cacao tree to produce enough pods to make 450 grams of chocolate. So, the next time you are wolfing down chocolate by the bar, take a moment to appreciate how much effort it has taken to yield your supply of chocolate.

Chocolate makes you feel in love

There is a reason that relationship advice often end in chocolate. Chocolate contains a chemical called phenylethylamine which are responsible for releasing certain endorphins.Endorphins are the pleasurable hormones that make you feel in love. Perhaps, this is the reason for chocolate shortage in the world…

Chocolate heals

Throughout history, chocolate has been thought of as the cure of many ailments, and were prescribed to patients by the earliest of physicians. Today, we know that chocolate may not cure you of your cold, but research reveals it is linked to many health benefits such lowered blood pressure, lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, besides being rich with antioxidants.

Chocolate paycheck, anyone?

Chocolate was highly valuable during the American Revolutionary War, that often times, it was distributed to soldiers as their salary. Today, the chocolate industry is worth an estimated USD 98.3 bil (RM 393.2 bil).

Chocolate is not just for desserts

Although consumed mostly through sweet treats, the use of chocolate does not have to be restricted to desserts. Here are two recipes by Chef Dennis Lai, demonstrating interesting ways to use chocolate in an entrée and appetizer. Chef Dennis Lai is the chef de cuisine at The Deck Kitchen, Weil Hotel in Ipoh.

Sweet Turnip and Tomato with Chocolate Dressing

Sweet Turnip and Tomato with Chocolate Dressing

Spicy Chocolate Chicken Mole

Chicken mole

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