A Little Chocolate Love for Valentine’s Day
You may have heard: Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and, while it’s nice to be reminded of those declarations of love and that other romantic stuff, let’s be real: It’s really all about the chocolate.
Chocolate hearts, chocolate salted caramels, chocolate-covered strawberries. Heck, dip a stick in chocolate and we’d probably give it a taste. But do you know how our favorite food of all time goes from the cocoa tree to the candy store? LiveScience does.
According to the website, the process starts with the production of pods (or fruits) from cocoa trees grown close to the equator–and it ain’t quick. It takes five years or so for a seedling to grow big enough to harvest and about 10 years to reach its peak production.
The pods–that grow to be the size of a football!–hold around 50 cocoa beans, which is good because you need four cocoa seeds for an ounce of milk chocolate or 12 for an ounce of the dark stuff, LiveScience reports. When the beans are taken out of their shells, they’re heated to create chocolate liquor–a paste–and then blended with various amounts of milk and sugar, the site adds.
We had you at “chocolate liquor,” right?
When the different flavors of chocolate are mixed, they’re packaged and shipped around the globe, according to LiveScience. Not surprisingly, the site reports, Valentine’s Day is the top chocolate-buying day in the United States, where, on average, Americans eat almost 12 pounds of the stuff each year. Does that seem low to you? It sure does to us.
The stats for Switzerland seem much more accurate. Over there, they eat more than 22 pounds of chocolate per year, LiveScience notes. The Swiss must know that researchers have found chocolate-eaters have lower blood pressure and are at a lower risk for heart attacks or strokes than non chocolate-eaters.
And those poor saps who don’t like chocolate? They may also be risk for lower libidos, the site adds. No wonder Valentine’s Day chocolate sales are so high. Seriously, are they sure they didn’t mean Americans eat 12 pounds of chocolate by February 14? That would make us feel a lot better about our own habits.
C’mon chocolate lovers! Bake up some of these luscious chocolate desserts! And before you bake, learn all about baking chocolate.