• The cacao tree’s botanical name is ‘Theobroma cacao’ which means “Food of the Gods”.
  • Cacao trees can only grow within 10-20 degrees latitude of the equator.
  • Although cultivated throughout the world, the cacao tree originated in Central and Southern America. Archaeological evidence shows cacao trees as a domesticated crop back to 1150 BC.
  • Cacao beans, which come from pods on the cacao tree, are actually considered a fruit.
  • Christopher Columbus was the first European introduced to cacao beans during his last voyage to the Americas in 1502. The first official cacao bean shipment to Europe occurred in 1585 to Spain.
  • In the ancient Americas, cacao beans were actually used as currency.
  • Chocolate was consumed only as a drink until 1849, but it wasn’t until 1879 when chocolate began to take on the solid form that we recognize today.
  • Despite its bad reputation to the contrary, chocolate does not cause acne or tooth decay.
  • Switzerland leads the world in chocolate consumption with an estimated 21 pounds consumed annually per person. Americans only consume an estimated 11 pounds per person annually.
  • Dogs, and even some small children, cannot digest a compound in chocolate called theobromine. As little as two ounces of chocolate can be fatal to dogs.
  • Eating chocolate causes the brain to produce natural opioids, which dull pain and increase a feeling of well-being.
  • Cocoa butter in chocolate begins to soften at around 86°F and has a melting point of around 95°F. Because the melting point of chocolate is below normal body temperature, it melts easily in your hand and has a ‘cooling’ sensation when it melts on your tongue. Some chocolate makers add other vegetable-based oils to alter this melting point making their chocolate withstand higher temperatures without melting.
  • True white chocolate contains cocoa butter, but has no cocoa solids