Reasons to rip open the chocolates at Christmas: Ten things you never knew about chocolate
The master chocolatiers at Butlers Chocolates have a wealth of knowledge about chocolate. Here they share ten facts you may not already now.
1. The smell of chocolate is said to increase theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation.
2. Chocolate was used as money in Mayan times when the cocoa bean was a currency considered to be worth more than gold dust.
3. Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt around 93 degrees farenheit (33.89 degrees celsius), just below human body temperature, which is why chocolate melts in your mouth.
4. Champagne and sparkling wine are deemed too acidic to go well with dark chocolate, but red wine complements it perfectly, connoisseurs say.
5. Marie Antoinette loved chocolate, and hot chocolate was frequently served at the Palace of Versailles, as it was believed the drink was an aphrodisiac.
6. The huge chocolate river Augustus Gloop almost drowned in, in the original 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory film was made of 15,000 gallons of water mixed with chocolate and cream.
7. Both Columbus and Cortez brought cacao beans back to Spain from America.
8. It takes about 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate.
9. Europeans account for almost half the world's chocolate consumption, with each of us eating around 11kg of chocolate a year, according to the International Cocoa Organization.
10. Although cacao originated in Central and South America more than 4,000 years ago, now around 70pc of the world’s cacao is grown in Africa.