After the Aztec emperor Montezuma was defeated by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez in the early 1500s, Cortez and his men searched Montezuma’s palace looking for valuables they could swipe, like gold and silver. They didn’t find any, but they did discover huge quantities of cocoa beans, which were at the time considered even more valuable than precious metals.
Turns out, the Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the God of wisdom, and the beans were used as currency. Though the Spaniards were a little confused at first, they sent some of their new loot back to Europe, someone there decided to add sugar, and the rest is history.
Here are some other fascinating facts about chocolate:
· Cacao trees are found in hot, steamy, tropical climates, within about 20 degrees north and south of the equator.
· In the 18th century, when cacao’s popularity was increasing and it was being exported around the world, an English importer made a spelling error and wrote “cocoa” instead of “cacao.” The misspelling became the norm.
· People in the U.S. consume an average of 11 pounds per person of chocolate every year. (In Germany and Switzerland, it’s more than 24 pounds per person.)
· Cocoa has been used in a medicinal capacity for more than 2,000 years. Scientific researchers have noted more than 100 medicinal uses for cocoa, including the treatment of fever, heart pain, kidney/bowel issues, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
· Cocoa contains more than 700 known beneficial compounds, including antioxidants that protect cells from damage.
· Chocolove’s premium chocolate bars, like the one in your spring Yuzen box, are made in small batches with all-natural ingredients sourced through ethically and socially responsible means. The company is also a faithful contributor to the World Cocoa Foundation, a farmer-focused program that educates growers on issues related to growing healthy crops.
· Chocolove makes 24 unique flavors, and the cocoa content is clearly indicated on the front of every wrapper. Experts believe that the higher the cocoa content, the higher the antioxidant benefits, so when you’re done enjoying the deliciously smooth Toffee & Almonds in Milk Chocolate bar you received as one of the items in your Yuzen box, please visit www.chocolove.com and discover other flavors, like their popular 77% Extra Strong Dark Chocolate.