Bean there for pleasure

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Bean there for pleasure

Friday, 28 November 2014 | Pioneer

Bean there for pleasure

A bit of dark chocolate, eaten before or after a meal, helps control the sense of hunger. The fat in pure chocolate comes from cocoa butter which contains no cholesterol and is generally hard to absorb


  • Cacao trees are found only in hot, rainy, tropical climates, 20 degrees north and south of equator, just like vanilla.
  • The first time cocoa or chocolate was used as a romantic gesture was in the Mayan culture.
  • The Aztecs used cocoa to create a form of “hot chocolate” or as they called it “xocolatl” which means bitter water.
  • Supposedly the Aztec Emperor, Montezuma, was quoted saying of Xocolatl: “The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.”
  • Cocoa/chocolate is thought be an aphrodisiac.
  • Theobroma cacao is the scientific latin name given to the cacao trees that are native to the deep tropical region of the Americas.
  • The difference between cacao and cocoa is that cacao is the bean and cocoa is the product that is made from it.
  • Cocoa trees need to be planted next to tall trees in order to protect them from direct sunlight. This is why you often see cocoa trees planted amongst mango and papaya trees. The soil (or terroir, as in wine-making) influences the flavours of the cocoa beans.
  • Cocoa trees need to grow in hot and damp climates. Every stage of cocoa production is done by hand: planting, irrigating, harvesting, fermenting and drying. Another reason why fine chocolate justifies its price.
  • lver 70 per cent of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa, which provides the bulk of cocoa used for mass-produced chocolate.
  • The UK is the world’s largest “chocolate” consumer with annual average consumption per capita of 11.5 kg. I put chocolate in inverted commas because most of what is sold in the UK contains less than one per cent of cocoa: under French legislation, it would be illegal for it to be called chocolate. Vivent les Français for protecting quality foods!
  • Amsterdam is the world’s most important cocoa port.
  • It is widely believed that chocolate makes you gain weight. However, if you eat only a little dark chocolate before or after a meal, the chocolate’s sugars help control your sense of hunger or feeling of fullness. The fat in pure chocolate comes from cocoa butter which contains no cholesterol and is generally hard to absorb.
  • When you eat chocolate, its sugars promote recovery from fatigue, and help bring the blood-sugar level back to normal. The sugar makes the brain active, as it provides nutrition to the brain as well.
  • Cacao seeds contain significant amounts of naturally occurring flavonoids, substances also found in red wine, green tea, and fruits and vegetables; flavonoids are connected with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
  • The Spanish did not export the cocoa drink to the rest of Europe for almost a century and it was not until the 16th century that they began adding sugar cane and flavorings such as vanilla to their cocoa beverages.
  • Cacao flowers are pollinated by midges, tiny flies that live in the rotting leaves and other debris that fall to the forest floor at the base of the tree. Those midges have the fastest wingbeats in the world: 1,000 times per second.

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