It isn’t just adults who are curious about chocolate. Chocolate facts for kids comes high up on our list of most asked questions, here at Cocoa and Heart. Most children have to be persuaded to taste dark chocolate because it tends to be more bitter – even though it is healthier. So children on the whole go for milk chocolate first and foremost.
And then they start to ask questions. Usually after the first bite (try telling them to melt the chocolate in their mouths to make it last longer!) and usually at the same time as chomping away at a mouthful of sticky chocolate!
So here are a few chocolate facts for kids and parents too, since you might be the one trying to explain where chocolate comes from.
For starters, you could take the hard line and say that white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids and so technically isn’t chocolate at all! We wish you luck trying to explain that one.
Instead, perhaps you could say that the reason chocolate melts on your tongue (if you let it stay there for long enough) is because it has the same melting point as the human body. That must be an in built biology lesson in the making? That must be a happy co-incidence and a wonderful marketing opportunity that’s not been lost throughout the ages.
Worth its weight in gold? Well almost, the ancient Aztecs in Central America, where chocolate originated from – used the cacao seed as a form of currency. This is because it could be kept stored for long periods and was highly prized.
During the second world war, US troops had a bar of chocolate as part of their essential army rations. Go to work on an egg and go to war on a candy bar. Try telling them that if they start to fight over the last M&Ms?
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Chocolate comes from the cacao seed. Cacao trees only grow in temperate regions with plenty of sun and rainfall. So, we’re talking the Equator here. West Africa now produces the most chocolate with Ivory Coast being the world’s biggest producer.
As there’s a ban on poaching ivory, perhaps it should now be called the Chocolate Coast?
Numbers play a big part in chocolate facts for kids. It can take up to 400 cacao beans to make just one bar of chocolate.
Cacao trees can grow as for up to 200 years, but their cocoa beans are only harvested for the first 25 years of their life. In one year, a cacao tree produces around 2,000 pods. And the pods grow straight from the trunk of the tree and not on overhanging branches, either.
The seeds are picked and then harvested mostly by hand. So it’s hard work especially in such hot and humid conditions.
If your kids are still curious then there’s a chemistry lesson in understanding what makes up chocolate. This is because it contains a wide range of nutrients including vitamins such as Vitamin-B and minerals such as potassium, calcium and iron.
Oh, and there’s a fair bit of fat and sugar in the average supermarket chocolate bar as well but you should already know that by now?
If your kids are eating you out of chocolate, tell them that chocolate was drank long before it was ever eaten. Again, the Aztecs drank it with water and spices and it probably tasted very bitter and not like a cup of hot chocolate today.
The first bars of chocolate didn’t appear until the mid 19th century. Now they disappear at an alarming rate. It’s been calculated that the average Britain eats up to 3kg of chocolate a year.
More fun facts
- Milk chocolate is the most popular type of chocolate
- Eating dark, good quality chocolate everyday can reduce the risk of heart disease by one third
- Chocolate is really not good for dogs. It can slow their heart and make them very ill and even kill them
- The first chocolate treat was a hot chocolate made from 100% cocoa solids, hot water and a chilli flakes
- Cacao was always a precious comodity. Aztecs used cacao as a currency and soldiers were often paid in chocolate in mid 18 century
- The world’s largest chocolate bar weighed 5,792.50 kg. This chocolate bar was made by Thorntons.
- The first chocolate bar was made in 1842 by the Cadbury Chocolate Company